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. 51
    kimberly says:

    thank you, melissa and dr. litfin! this post was perfectly timed – we have a new sister in Christ who has just come out of being a jehovah's witness coming to our home group. she has so many questions about the trinity, and this post will help tremendously.

    i really appreciate both of you!

  2. 52
    Anonymous says:

    Hi Melissa,
    Thank you for your post today. It was great. I have a question. Dr. Litfin said," The Bible teaches that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three distinct persons who love each other perfectly…" which I agree with. A few weeks ago, one of our pastors said that "God is a worshipper; He worships Himself." I've never heard that before. Have you? A friend asked the pastor and he said it's not in a Bible verse but a writing of a guy named John (somebody). I was just wondering if that is a common teaching that I missed somewhere along the way.
    Thank you.

  3. 53
    Anonymous says:

    I think it is intresting that the subject of the Trinity and the declarations of the Nicene Creed were delt with and settled in the hearts of the men who "chose" and compiled the New Testament that we have today. Eternal truths "cornerstones" if you will or "plumb lines" tools used to acomplish the task of assembling and compiling the WORD OF GOD. Like David I often say I do not concern myself with things to high for me, it is enough to succeed in the days trouble at hand, but Oh the joy of an occasional foray into deeper things.. Shalom

  4. 54
    Anastasia says:

    Thank you for this explination, I for one, need all kinds of repetion. I found that after years of "Strawberry Letter 22" I know those words and they really make no sense to me after 35 years of listening to it. The Nicene Creed does and I think I need to set it to music so I can memorize it! In fact I would like to set the whole Bible and memorize it………….A girl can dream!

    ANYWHOO I love theology and thank you for a great post.

  5. 55
    Lynn says:

    Thank you Melissa and Dr. Litfin. How generous of Dr. Litfin to take the time to post this for us. Much appreciated. I have never attended Bible college, let alone seminary but I appreciate having my (older)mind stretched in a theological direction!


  6. 56
    Melissa says:


    Thank you for your comment. I have never heard the exact phrase "God is a worshipper; He worships Himself." But I am familiar with the teaching of Jonathan Edwards and John Piper who would both argue something similar even though I am not sure that they would use that precise expression since I have never read or heard that exact phrase. Someone more informed may be of better help.

    I am much more familiar with the phrase "God is God-centered". If you want to read this kind of teaching for yourself I would recommend reading "God's Passion for His Glory" by John Piper and also "God is the Gospel" by the same author. Jonathan Edwards' book "The End for which God Created the World" is also classic but would be more technical.

  7. 57
    Carey says:

    Thank you soo much for posting this. It was so deep and yet understandable at the same time! I look forward to future posts. Dr. Liftin is talented to break down such big ideas into small digestible bites! 🙂

  8. 58
    Arleen says:

    Thank you very much; I appreciate your time and will look forward to reading your thoughts on this issue in the future.

  9. 59
    Deirdre says:

    please do a regular theology feature. I love the hair posts and the randomness, but the occasional deep mind stretch is good for us too.

  10. 60
    Susan says:

    Great post! There is a book that I read to my 4 year old girls called "3-in-1 A Picture of God" by Joanne Marxhausen. It depicts the Trinity in terms of an apple: 3 distinct parts (the core, the flesh and the skin), but yet still one apple. Thanks for the theological discussions. Keep them coming!

  11. 61
    Anonymous says:


    What a fantastic post. I am not sure if you are able to comment on this since I have not seen it mentioned in any postings, but what is your opinion of how the Trinity was portrayed in The Shack? Thanks so much for sharing these in-depth posts.

  12. 62
    HIS Daughter says:

    For Arleen and Melissa,

    I have read somewhere about that verse and the one similiar in St. Matthew's gospel – Where Jesus says that only the Father is good or do not call him good

    I'm not sure why he would say it, but the Early Church fathers and many today would have to say that if you were in the business of promoting Jesus and the true Jewish Messiah…YOU WOULD NOT have Him say something like that in your Holy Spirit inspired writings.

    Just like they were honest about the women who were at the tomb first and that Our Lord appeared to Mary of Magdala first….none of that would be something you would record if you were trying to make HIM the One and Only Messiah for Israel and Gentiles!

    Gives you goosebumps when you know that it didn't phase them to record Christ's actual words even if they sounded strange. They KNEW HE was alive and had walked with HIM before HIS Resurrected body assended into heaven….waiting for the moment HE can come for HIS bride!

    That's real romance!

  13. 63
    Michele says:

    Love it! Thanks, Melissa! If you ever want to discuss deep theology I'm in!

    I love this post because I recently studied the Patristic Era while working on my MA at Northeastern Seminary and wrote a final paper on Athanasius' "On the Incarnation". Great message on the fundamentals of the Trinity.

    Beth, will you be making Dr. Litfin an honorary Siesta?

    Liverpool, NY

  14. 64
    Montana Gal says:

    Yes, yes, yes!!! Bless your lil heart Melissa for the amazing, 'understandable' explanation from Dr. Litfin and for sharing this with 'all' and from this 'Montana gal' who has been reading your blog 'religiously' 🙂 but never posted before. I'm quite 'computer challanged' and have never quite figured out what an HTML etc. really is…….sigh. This may not make it either,but know I'll at least be reading and so enjoying how much you 3 share of your family, and because of your transparency, make us all love the Lord just that much more…with, and thru you.
    Waiting for my 'summer Bible study workbook' with bated breath…need that to keep me 'on track' and deeper in his word…..I so need accountability to keep me from 'running amuck'.
    Bless you all….BIG…
    Montana gal
    [email protected]

  15. 65
    Anonymous says:

    Ok, I'm going to have to save this for later. Kids, Hubby and I are doing some cleaning before a slew of compnay in a few days. This great post will have to wait for peace, quiet and a mind ready to process such important information.

    Thank you for providing a break from kid lingo. Sometimes I feel my brain can only make it to a "4th" grade level. It's a relief to know that I still have a tiny bit of intelect left somewhere in the gray matter. I'm also glad that we can learn and stimulate our minds for God's glory not for our own advancement.

    Janet NC

  16. 66
    Kel says:

    Thanks for a wonderful post. Just like you said, Melissa, Dr. Litfin does a good job at tackling a complex subject and putting it in terms ordinary people can understand. I will definitely be reading that again!

  17. 67
    Andreea says:

    Oh I loved this. And Melissa, I thought of another topic that I wanted to know more about last week. But I didn't post it. I wish I should have but anyway. Thank you for posting this for us.


  18. 68
    Anonymous says:

    Dr. Litfin,

    Thank you so much! How cool that we siestas and this stay at home mom could have a theology lesson while at home carrying for children! what a true blessing! please come back again! thanks melissa!
    kimberly, alabama

  19. 69
    texatheart says:

    Thanks for that post! I read through it once quickly but will go back through and really study it. I heard the trinity described using my brother as an illustration: he is my brother, a husband and dad. Each relates a little different but over all the same.
    Melissa, keep these coming. If we don't exercise our brains where these issues are concerned or never come to an understanding, it is so easy to be convinced to believe in stinkin' thinkin' where theoology is concerned. We need to be able to communicate what we believe and be able to back it up. Then we stand firm in what we believe.

  20. 70
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for being such a safe place on the web. I love the Siesta community. Thank you for addressing issues and explaining Biblical truths in such an encouraging way. Somehow, things on here are never divisive. I don't know how you do it. So many Christians spend so much of their time arguing with other Christians who believe differently from them on subjects that aren't a matter of life and death, and pointing out what other "camps" are doing wrong and what they need to do right. I so appreciate that you don't do this on here. Somehow you teach us truth without condemning. It seems so rare these days.

    Greensboro, NC

  21. 71
    Jill_in_AL says:

    Melissa, you are amazing in your passion for words, teaching and expounding on a topic or topics. Rock on, Siesta!

  22. 72
    Dana says:

    I cannot thank you enough for this post! It is so educational and understandable. You rock, Melissa! I hope we will hear from Dr. Litfin again!

  23. 73
    ems d says:

    Thanks for that Dr. Litfin and Melissa. It is clear helpful to tihnk of the trinity as 3 persons, one subestance. I have two questions (well more, but as we are over a blog and not over a coffee I'll keep it to two!)
    1) Clearly the bible states that all three parts of the trinity are fully divine, but is there a hierarchy within it (and what is the biblical basis either way)
    2) How do we explain verse the 'hear o israel the Lord your God the Lord is one' – is the 'one' not referring to 'one person' but 'one substance' – I am happy to beleive in the Trinity, in fact agree it is central to my faith, but I've never really understood that verse in trinity context
    Thanks and God bless

  24. 74
    Lauri W. says:

    And so…

    We seek Him!

    And when we meet Him we will know.

    Praise for my brain that some days hungers for such depth and intrigue and some days just wants to be held.

    Thank you.

  25. 75
    roxanne worsham says:

    Man, oh man! That was AWESOME! I sometimes think the Lord is calling me to seminary because I love to learn and I love to teach!
    That was all so very interesting and enlightening. As soon as I get home I am going to print this and meditate on it.
    Thank you so very much!!!

    PS Dr. Litfin, you are a very good teacher and presenter. Thank you for giving me a greater understanding! May the Lord continue to fill you with His wisdom so you can pass it on to all of your students! They are surely blessed and you have surely blessed me as well! See ya in class or see ya in Heaven – whichever the Lord calls me to first!

  26. 76
    Mrs says:

    The timing of this post is perfect. Had it come at any other time of the year I would have had to scan it! But in summer, this homeschooling mom gets to do her OWN reading!

    Love, love, love this post. Thank you, Dr. Litfin! I want to peruse it more carefully (you know, to check for heresy). ;-D

    Beth, I am going through Daniel for the second time, this time as moderator. I invited upper high school and college girls to join me, and their mothers, in this IMPORTANT study of living lives of integrity in a Babylon world.

    WOW. What an impact! The 14 of us thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We are studying Week 8 (Antiochus Spreads Hate!) and hope to finish the third week of July. Except, we don't want it to end!

    How smart are we for making it this far? 🙂

  27. 77
    Missy @ It's Almost Naptime says:

    Melissa, thank you. I cannot wait to come back and read this.

    I have a question tho – you went to Moody, but got your masters at Wheaton? So what did you do at Moody? Did you go there for undergrad, or get two masters?

    Just trying to put it all together. 🙂

  28. 78
    Melissa says:

    Missy, I went to Moody for undergrad and I majored in Biblical Studies with an emphasis in Biblical Languages. I did grad school at Wheaton in Biblical Exegesis. I am actually starting another Master's Degree (a Th.M.) in the Fall though, so funny that you asked.

  29. 79
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the post. Crystal clear and not as intimidating as I would have thought. Once you have done all the Beth studies, sometimes you get hungry for even more. Keep challenging us.

  30. 80
    imlikable says:

    Wow ~ thank you Dr Litfin for trusting us to wrap our minds around the deeper things and treating us with such respect as learners ~ capable of understanding!

    Melissa ~ thank you for honoring our desire to know and be streched to a place of greater understanding in the scripture. Bring it on.

    ~ much love

  31. 81
    ArmyReserveWife says:

    Melissa and Dr. Litfin,

    Thank you for taking the time to post that informative article. I know I will reread it and ponder more.

    If you haven't read The Shack it gives a wonderful illustration on how the Trinity relate to each other.

    God bless!
    Alexandria, VA

  32. 82
    Jodi says:

    Melissa THIS ROCKED!!! Thank you so much for taking this to a completely new whole super kickin level!

    Thank you Dr. Litfin for jumping into the deep end with us seistas!

    Jodi, Plymouth MN

  33. 83
    Warm in Alaska says:

    Count me a Smitten Siesta! And, a big SHOUT OUT to Dr. Liftin. I always love it when we have a Miesta show up. Don't be a stranger! How brave a man to wade deep into the waters of Siestaville – with Bible and history books in tow. Wow.

    I love loving the Triune One God. Besides being so full of love, He is so full of mysteries as well; and it seems to me in no other line of engagement do we bump up against the Great Mystery of God then when we contemplate and meditate on His Three-In-One nature.

    When my children were little we had no end of discussion about the Trinity ("How can Jesus be God when He prays to God? Is He praying to Himself?") I came up with a little ditty that we would say right before the lights went out:

    "God the Father; God the Son; God the Spirit; the Three in One."

    Not that it elaborates on the mystery of God – but I hope it imprinted the mystery onto their darling little hearts and minds.

    Warm in Alaska.

  34. 84
    Janae says:

    Thank you for covering things I have been pondering, too.

  35. 85
    Ola says:

    Hi Melissa – I just joined the Siesta community I believe on new year's eve (2008). I was looking for a Beth Moore bible study group because a counselor had recommended it to me. I stumbled on the blog and read Beth's post about starting a scripture memory – that was the Lord! Because for the first time I am actually memorizing scripture.
    The response on Theology is also God's leading because I have always struggled with understanding the Trinity especially the role of the Holy Spirit as God and I am so grateful for a better understanding. Thank You for taking the time.


  36. 86
    Melissa says:

    Ola! I am so excited that you are memorizing Scripture for the first time. That is exciting. And thank you for commenting, I had never seen your name before! Take Care!

  37. 87
    Ashton says:

    I thought this read about the Trinity was very interesting and refreshing. That love holds it all together and God is love, holds 3 in 1, 1 in 3.

    I know of some groups that believe, "how can Jesus pray to Himself if Jesus was God in the flesh because Jesus was just the Son of God." And I think to myself, If Jesus ain't God in the flesh than I have a problem, it makes sense though I don't understand it that Jesus was/is God in the flesh and yet man too. But, as Dr. Bryan Litfin said it is a mystery, glad he said that.

    I think this verse is interesting:
    Colossians 2:8
    "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."

    and then this verse is interesting:
    Isaiah 6:9
    "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

    I had a friend who never believed the bible taught the Trinity. He was a follower of William Brahnam's teaching. I have wondered about baptism in water from some of my talks with my friend. One thing my friend said that was an interesting point was how one should be baptized. He said, it has to be said, "I baptize you in the name of Jesus" because that is the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This was his reference:
    Matt 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." I wonder about that.
    (my notes: what is that name and is there suppose to be a name called out in baptism not just their titles?)

    Just my thoughts, enjoyed the read!

  38. 88
    Kenzie says:

    What an awesome description and clear explanation of the Trinity! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

  39. 89
    Kate says:

    Thank you so much Dr Litfin.
    Thanks Melissa!

    This is not going to sound very educated, but oh well…I could picture all the brainies getting together way back in the day to discuss among themselves. I felt so bad for them…they had to figure this all out…how delightfully frustrating it must have been to have not recognized what was there all the time…to read between the lines…to understand that there really is no understanding to the full mystery of God. I can also imagine the delight as He revealed His Truth to them. I'm so glad for Truth revealed!

  40. 90
    Lauren says:

    Hey Melissa,
    Thanks so much for going for this! I think you are so right that it's awesome when academia and ministry work together. We should not be anti-intellectual; our God is not.

    Thanks, also, for reiterating that we should major on the majors–one of the reasons we joined our church was because they do just that. It's not a perfect church (that entity doesn't exist), but it does have that part right.

  41. 91
    Bullock Family says:

    Ok, this southern girl's brain hurts but thank you LPM for always stretching me!!!! I love it! I am so thankful for this post and the fact that he referenced "what does that mean for us in 2009". I felt like such a smart dude could still most certainly relate! YOU GUYS ROCK!

  42. 92
    gritsgirl721 says:

    This has been a great post. I can't believe I am seeing a former high-schooler in a church I attended in Memphis years ago, all grown up. I was a counselor on a Florida trip he went on when his father was preaching there. Amazing, all that he has done. Carolyn looks familiar as well, from First Evan in Memphis?? Wow, what a small world. Thanks for sharing with us. I always knew God would do something awesome with you!!! Amanda, Olive Branch, MS

  43. 93
    Krista says:

    Wonderful! Thank you Melissa and Dr. Litfin!

    Krista W.

  44. 94
    Anonymous says:

    Wow Melissa, thanks for bringing Dr. Litfin on board, especially for a treatise on the Trinity… but i have to say, reading through the "pattern" of blue and white diamonds did add additional challenges:)

  45. 95
    Barbra says:

    Thank you so much! Thank you for honoring us as women of the Word, capable and willing to dive in deep!

    Also, I want to echo Jessica's thanks for making this blog a "safe" community for conversation. I've had enough church conflict recently to last me the rest of my life. I can't tell you how much I appreciate being able to come here and just chat, knowing that I won't be condemned… just loved and made smarter! =)

    Barb in PA

  46. 96
    Nichole says:

    I tried to read this before I had eaten anything in a long time. Could not understand a single word. I just went back and re-read it. Amazing what a difference some food will make for the brain! After all, I had to DO something while I was waiting for my next Esther video session to download. Time's up! Thanks for the post.

  47. 97
    katie says:

    Wow that was very interesting! I would love to read more. I realized to day it has been a long time- more than three years since I read anything remotely academic! Thank you!!!

  48. 98
    Amber says:

    Wow, that was so awesome!! I just finished up reading "The Shack" and would love to have your take on that book. I know the book is fiction, but the concepts of the Trinity were pretty eye opening to me. Dr. Litfin's description was very similar to the one I got after reading that book.

  49. 99
    Moose Mama says:

    OK, THAT was GOOD!

    I thought I had a grasp on the Trinity…but that is the most understandable explanation I have ever read.

    Thank-you Dr. Litfin for visiting our blog. I guess you are now officially a "miesta"!!

    Melana in Wyoming

  50. 100
    Aunt Rhody says:

    Melissa, Dr. Litfin, thank you for insightful information that still leads us into relationship with the I AM.

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