At this month’s (Oct. 2014) Pastors Teaching Conference our speaker, Fred Sanders, helped us to see this Biblical doctrine with freshness and clarity that sparkled. Here are some highlights of his talks.
–The trinity is not a closed door but a welcome to all other doctrines.
–The trinity is not club to keep in storage until the Jehovah’s Witnesses knock at the door.
–The definitive revelation of the trinity happened when Jesus came on the scene and when the Spirit later came on the scene. These events showed the nature of God’s being: one God in three persons. The Old Testament looked forward to these events; the New Testament letters look back on them.
–Is the trinity revealed in the OT? Not explicitly, but when we re-read the Bible, knowing the end of the story from the NT, we can see the trinity in the OT.
–The trinity is not a distraction from the gospel, but a super-condensed explanation of it: the Father saved us by sending his Son and his Spirit. The being of God is revealed in the way that he does salvation.
–Illustrations of the trinity are a danger zone. There is nothing else like God’s triune nature, so there is nothing to compare it to. Most illustrations are a little like God but perfect illustrations of heresy. Better to stress the main thing that is the plain thing: God the Father saved us by sending his Son and the Spirit.
–Any apparent problem in the Bible is a blessing in disguise.
–There are two Trinitarian intercessions going on in our praying: the Holy Spirit’s intercession on our end, Christ’s on God’s end.
–The following realities, central to evangelical experience, are Trinitarian. If you dig here, you will hit Trinitarian gold: getting saved; knowing Jesus personally; devotional Bible reading; understanding Scripture’s big story; conversational prayer; evangelism; world mission; daily spirituality.
Fred taught with deep and extensive knowledge of his subject, with eye-opening and well-placed humor, and with sensitive and humble pastoral judgment. I think he exceeded the expectations of many in the audience. Attendees gave feedback such as:
“Exactly the right kind of theme/presentation. A great teacher and a great theological topic. A good meshing of doctrine with practical application.
“He was very articulate and humorous. A great balance. I was pleasantly surprised. I expected him to be more intellectual and less ‘real’.”
“Appreciated his intelligence, heart for ministers, and humor.”
“His presentation was engaging which can be difficult with a deep topic. He provided relevant applications throughout which I found to be very valuable.”
Fred’s four audio talks are posted on our website. You can also use these “Prezi” links to the visual presentations that accompanied his talks: visual presentations 1-3 , visual presentation 4. Of these presentations Fred says, “In both cases, I’ve set the Prezis to be public and reusable, which means that anybody with a free Prezi account can make a copy and modify my work at will. I want these to be helpful for anybody who wants to use them in teaching; credit and notification would also be appreciated, but are secondary. I value the opportunity to teach re-teachers.”