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Churchgoer Understanding of the Trinity?

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  • Churchgoer Understanding of the Trinity?

    Churchgoer's Understanding of the Trinity?

    The survey question can be answered either on a personal level or narrow church groups or churchwide.

    I am working on a paper on a passage where I discuss the relevance of the Trinitarian concepts, especially as it pertains to the relationship of the Son and Father within the Godhead. It seems that passage can only be understood in light of the relationship between the Son and the Father. So this got me thinking about the understanding held in the modern church ... and about the understanding held in the first century.

    Any personal experience of your growth in the understanding of the Trinity would be useful too.
    10
    1. Not a critical concept for the modern church
    0.00%
    0
    2. Not thought about and not taught
    10.00%
    1
    3. taught by not valued by the Christian
    20.00%
    2
    4. Recognizes the deity of Christ but does not think this through any further
    0.00%
    0
    5. Recognizes Christ and the Father as equal existence and status in the Godhead
    0.00%
    0
    6. Recognizes the equality of Christ, the Spirit, and the Father in the Godhead
    40.00%
    4
    7. Realizes the complexity of the Trinity and the difficulties of conceptualizing the Trinity
    30.00%
    3

  • #2
    It has been said that at a lay level, the modern church is functionally modalists. Most churches do not teach indepth about the topic. Admittedly, there is a certain logic: Christians generally agree that the Trinity cannot be comprehended yet that at the same time, it must be affirmed. So along the same lines, any concept of it that is comprehensible has a high chance of actually reflecting some heresy or the other.
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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    • #3
      Every time I use an analogy or example to help explain the Trinity, I have to add, "EXCEPT...."

      I think it's more important to understand the work of the Holy Spirit, the finished Work of Jesus, and the general concept of God.

      I do think that the Holy Spirit isn't taught as much as He should be.
      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
        Every time I use an analogy or example to help explain the Trinity, I have to add, "EXCEPT...."

        I think it's more important to understand the work of the Holy Spirit, the finished Work of Jesus, and the general concept of God.

        I do think that the Holy Spirit isn't taught as much as He should be.
        As they say, at some point even the best analogy will fall apart.


        I still think one of the better ones is (LJ's?) comparing the Trinity to a treaty. And yet, being an analogy, it too isn't perfect.
        Last edited by rogue06; 05-16-2020, 01:40 PM.

        I'm always still in trouble again

        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
          As they say, at some point even the best analogy will fall apart.


          I still think one of the better ones is (LJ's?) comparing the Trinity to a treaty. At yet, being an analogy, it too isn't perfect.
          That's the one to which I have defaulted.
          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
            I do think that the Holy Spirit isn't taught as much as He should be.
            Even though I don't really consider myself what most people would call "charismatic", if that word is even useful, that's been a major draw to Vineyard churches for me. The two such churches I've attended have talked a lot more about it than any other church I've seen.

            It's a topic that people can actually put to use in the real world unlike some other theological topics.
            "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
              Even though I don't really consider myself what most people would call "charismatic", if that word is even useful, that's been a major draw to Vineyard churches for me. The two such churches I've attended have talked a lot more about it than any other church I've seen.

              It's a topic that people can actually put to use in the real world unlike some other theological topics.
              My theory is that the glossolalia movement of the 60s/70s caused a lot of churches to abandon the Holy Spirit because of all the confusion - sad, indeed. When Jesus was leaving the planet, He made it clear that He would pray the Father to send another comforter, so I believe it must have been really important.

              But, yeah, there seems to be a fine line between allowing the Holy Spirit to freely operate, and the total chaos seen in some 'charismatic' churches.
              "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

              Comment


              • #8
                As member of a "charismatic" church (Assemblies Of God) , the Holy Spirit is a little more emphasized but I believe the church I attend is very even keeled about it. Our pastor actually excommunicated a parishioner who continually acclaimed his status as a "prophet" and kept speaking out in service and one-on-one. There's a lot more to the story but his refusal to submit to the Pastor's and the Boards authority got him tossed. You would be hard pressed 9 Sunday's out of 10 telling the difference in our church and CP's for instance, but people do pray in tongues over other people at the altar, and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is encouraged for every believer. It's not a requirement for membership in the church though. AOG's vary from church to church from what I'm told and we are an autonomous church affiliated with the AOG North Texas District. My Daughter just told me that when she was in H.S., her teacher went into great depths of teaching the Trinity. I don't remember any adult classes teaching on it though. Pastor doesn't get deep into it, but recognizes from the pulpit the Co-Equal, Godhead.
                "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

                "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                  My theory is that the glossolalia movement of the 60s/70s caused a lot of churches to abandon the Holy Spirit because of all the confusion - sad, indeed. When Jesus was leaving the planet, He made it clear that He would pray the Father to send another comforter, so I believe it must have been really important.

                  But, yeah, there seems to be a fine line between allowing the Holy Spirit to freely operate, and the total chaos seen in some 'charismatic' churches.
                  I think the SBC's refusal to deal with that movement lead to a significant migration from SBC to AOG, and other "non-denom's" like Church on the Rock and Robert Tilton's church...I forget the name. Unfortunately, some of those were just in it for the money...
                  "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

                  "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Littlejoe View Post
                    I think the SBC's refusal to deal with that movement lead to a significant migration from SBC to AOG, and other "non-denom's" like Church on the Rock and Robert Tilton's church...I forget the name. Unfortunately, some of those were just in it for the money...
                    I concur, though, in my experience, many of the people who left the SBC over this ended up in Bible Churches. Southern Baptists have called ourselves "people of the Book", so it makes sense that the Bible Churches would see an influx of those who....

                    Actually, thinking more about this, yeah.... those who left specifically because of the Holy Spirit controversy would be looking more for some emotional expression.

                    I am glad that I ended up in an SBC church in my youth where the pastor very firmly taught the power and work of the Holy Spirit.
                    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Littlejoe View Post
                      As member of a "charismatic" church (Assemblies Of God) , the Holy Spirit is a little more emphasized but I believe the church I attend is very even keeled about it. Our pastor actually excommunicated a parishioner who continually acclaimed his status as a "prophet" and kept speaking out in service and one-on-one. There's a lot more to the story but his refusal to submit to the Pastor's and the Boards authority got him tossed. You would be hard pressed 9 Sunday's out of 10 telling the difference in our church and CP's for instance, but people do pray in tongues over other people at the altar, and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is encouraged for every believer. It's not a requirement for membership in the church though. AOG's vary from church to church from what I'm told and we are an autonomous church affiliated with the AOG North Texas District. My Daughter just told me that when she was in H.S., her teacher went into great depths of teaching the Trinity. I don't remember any adult classes teaching on it though. Pastor doesn't get deep into it, but recognizes from the pulpit the Co-Equal, Godhead.
                      I have always "gone to Church" even when I wasn't the pastor or staff. Once, when I was "between Churches", we attended a Church that was, supposedly, a charismatic Church, but I knew the pastor, and just wanted to hear him preach. Like you said, I was hard pressed to see any difference between that service and the ones I usually conducted or attended.

                      I visited with the pastor after the service, and expressed that to him, and he said that Sunday Nights were a little more "free", but what I had experienced was their typical Sunday morning service.
                      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                        I concur, though, in my experience, many of the people who left the SBC over this ended up in Bible Churches. Southern Baptists have called ourselves "people of the Book", so it makes sense that the Bible Churches would see an influx of those who....

                        Actually, thinking more about this, yeah.... those who left specifically because of the Holy Spirit controversy would be looking more for some emotional expression.

                        I am glad that I ended up in an SBC church in my youth where the pastor very firmly taught the power and work of the Holy Spirit.
                        I've not heard Bible Churches being "charismatic" in any way...seems odd they would go that direction. The AG church here in my area was full of ex-Baptist's, myself included.
                        "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

                        "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Littlejoe View Post
                          I've not heard Bible Churches being "charismatic" in any way...seems odd they would go that direction.
                          That's why I "branched". Those who would be interested in the emphasis on the Holy Spirit, as opposed to those who were disillusioned with the SBC not "preaching the Word", which would include the power of the Holy Spirit.

                          The AG church here in my area was full of ex-Baptist's, myself included.
                          Yuh
                          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            In fact all major theologians, even in the liberal tradition, are trinitarians. But I don't think we've done a very good job of making the doctrine look like it matters or even makes sense. When someone asks they get buried in antique philosophical terms.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hedrick View Post
                              In fact all major theologians, even in the liberal tradition, are trinitarians. But I don't think we've done a very good job of making the doctrine look like it matters or even makes sense. When someone asks they get buried in antique philosophical terms.
                              This issue about burying people with antique philosophical terms was actually the perception of the Trinity which was my particular interest. However, I figured I would just ask the general perception of the church people's encounters and understanding of the Trinity.

                              Comment

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