Trinity tweets

Not like this, or like anything else

Fred Sanders is a theology professor at Biola University's Torrey Honors Institute, and author of Embracing The Trinity. He recently tweeted a series of notes from a talk he did at his church's youth group about the Trinity, which I found very clear and helpful. I've put them together here without edit or comment:

Deut 29:29, "The secret things belong to the LORD, but the things that are revealed belong to us & to our children" applies to the Trinity.

Since God has revealed to us in the Bible that he is Father, Son, & Holy Spirit, the Trinity is something he wants us to know & grasp.

Trinity: Don't chop up the Being (divide into three gods) or mix up the persons (confuse the Father with the Son or Spirit).

OT: God said through the prophets that he would send his Son the Messiah, & his Spirit. So the OT looks forward to the Trinity.

NT: Apostles looking back on the time when Jesus & the Holy Spirit came. So the NT looks back to the revelation of the Trinity.

John 1:1-3 has identity ("was God"), relation ("was with God"), and a starting point before the starting point of Gen 1.

Matt 28:18-20 has oneness ("the name") and threeness (F, S, & HS), which in Anglo Saxon is Thrynnysse, & in Latin is Trinitas.

2 Cor 13:14 has 1 one work of Gospel salvation worked by the 3 persons of the Trinity: grace of Christ, Father's love, Spirit's communion.

Everybody craves illustrations of the Trinity. Okay, fine. But I've got 3 rules about Trinity illustrations you should bear in mind:
1. Nothing's quite like God.
2. Illustrations mingle helpful & hurtful tendencies.
3. Incarnation & Pentecost need no illustrating.

Tritheism: More like tri-again-theism.
Modalism: 3 masks for 3 tasks, 3 modes for 3 moods.
Subordinationism: God & company.

2 main analogies for Trinity:
Psychological: God is like a complex person.
Social: God is like a very close family.

The Trinity is not a distraction from the gospel, but a super-condensed explanation of it.