Why is the trinity important to good doctrine?
A woman who does ministry with her husband and their two young children in rural Mexico emailed some questions she had about the Trinity. She was recently told by a pastor, “that the trinity is a doctrine that is not found in the Bible but was made up by the church later.” This caused her concern as she explains, “I know the word itself is not in the Bible but the doctrine seems very important to the Christian worldview.” Her questions on this issue are, “So where did the doctrine of the trinity come from? Where can we find it conceptually in the bible? Why is the trinity important to good doctrine? If someone doesn’t believe in the specific concept, what might be the implications?” I want to thank this woman for allowing me to answer these questions, and even driving up from Mexico with her family to hear me preach and introduce herself and her children. Her questions are complex, and one’s that many people have. So, I will take a four-part blog series to answer them in succession.
The Trinity is the first community and the ideal for all communities. That community alone has not been stained by the selfishness of sin. Therefore, in the diversity of God the Father, Son, and Spirit is perfect unity as one God that communicates truthfully, loves unreservedly, lives connectedly, serves humbly, interacts peaceably, serves selflessly. In a word, the Trinity is the ideal community in every way. Or, to say it another way, God is a Friend and has Friends.
Perhaps the best known statement about the Trinitarian God of the Bible is found in 1 John 4:8, which simply states that “God is love.” When plumbed to its depths, this definition of God is unprecedented.Love is spoken of roughly eight hundred times throughout the totality of Scripture. In stating that “God is love,” the Bible also reveals that the Trinitarian God of the Bible is simultaneously the definition, example, and source of true love.
In other words, to declare that God is love is to confess that God is Trinitarian. In the very nature of God there is a continuous outpouring of love, communication, and oneness because God is a relational community of love. For example, during his earthly life, Jesus frequently spoke about the deep love between him and God the Father:
- “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.”
- “The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing.”
- “Do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.”
A correct understanding of the Trinity is the basis for our understanding of such things as love and community with God and one another. Subsequently, the doctrine of the Trinity is incredibly practical.
Note: Much of this blog series is adapted from the book Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe written by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears