It's time to derive your worldview from the Bible

Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”

by Charles Clough
God the Holy Spirit’s sequencing of the church’s foundation period. The authority for truth resides in the revelation (Scripture) not the human messenger or tradition. The tests for a true prophet. The powerful way the New Testament writers showed that Jesus Christ is God. The many arguments concerning Christ’s deity. Questions and answers.
Series:Chapter 4 – The Historical Maturing of the Church
Duration:1 hr 27 mins 12 secs

© Charles A. Clough 2002

Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003

Part 6: New Truths of the Kingdom Aristocracy
Chapter 4 – The Historical Maturing of the Church

Lesson 195 – The Foundation Era of the Church – The Doctrine of the Trinity and Christology

28 Mar 2002
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD

We’re going to try to finish this section that we’re working on church history, the foundational era and we’re going to do it kind of quickly. I said last time to read back when we were dealing with the person of Christ so we’re going to start by mentioning where we’ve come in this foundation period of church history and point to why the Holy Spirit stressed certain things in the sequence He did. We can learn a lot by watching how the Holy Spirit worked down through the Church Age. One of the things that we’ve seen is that in the period of what we call the foundation period or the foundational era that goes from the time of Pentecost, the church did not exist prior to Pentecost, so from Pentecost on through around AD 600, that’s the foundational period. During that period the Holy Spirit did several things. We learned that He gave the church a sense of its distinct identity. During this period of time the church started its identity separate and distinct from that of Israel. It was not a Jewish sect any longer; it was something in and of itself.

That’s the first thing, a sense of distinct identity. Then we have been working on the completion and recognition of the Canon of Scripture. We have several things going on here; we have an identity, then we have an authority because when we talk about the Canon of Scripture we’re really talking about the authority. What is the authority in the church? The struggle during these centuries was to find that authority. Be careful because we’re not saying that everybody agreed that the Scriptures were the final authority. What we’re saying is that the basis for that authority existed whether it was recognized or not. And the church came to, at least apart from the Apocrypha that wasn’t clarified until the Protestant Reformation; the Canon of Scripture was pretty well fixed. Then the question is: what is authoritative? The battle in this period, and it’s a battle all the way down to our present day, is whether the authority is the Canon plus something else, or whether it’s just the Canon. We get to what we call, the Protestants call, sola fide or sola Scriptura. That never was articulated until the Protestant Reformation many centuries after this.

We’re not saying that in the first six centuries all this was clarified. All we’re saying is the more modest thing that the basis for authority existed, the Canon was complete; the Scriptures circulated and were being published and passed around. It’s also true that during this period, the first 600 years, there was a lot of oral tradition. To this day there are vast segments of so-called Christendom that still say that tradition and Scripture are the authority. For example, in the Eastern Church, the Orthodox Church, they kind of went along with the Canon but they had other writings, they kind of separated half-heartedly between the two, but in practice the Eastern Orthodox Church never took the stand the Protestant Reformers took of sola Scriptura. That’s partly because the gospel heading into Europe, if you think of a world map, the gospel goes to Europe, Europe is primarily (in terms of Noahic civilization) Japhetic, i.e., the peoples that occupy all of Europe are to a large degree descendants from Japheth, the son of Noah. We know from the outline of history given in Genesis 9 that Japheth shall dwell in the tents of Shem. So Japhetic civilization is sort of grounded on top of the Shemitic contribution here, spiritually speaking, and it’s Shem and his progeny that gave us the Old Testament, Hebrew and Japheth’s language is Greek. It’s interesting that we have the two parts of the Bible in those two sons.

Clearly the gospel was intended by the Holy Spirit to go to Europe. That’s the whole argument of the last part of the book of Acts, getting Paul to Rome. There’s a reason he didn’t head east, he headed west. You say why did God send the gospel westward into Europe? Why didn’t He send it eastward? Christians went east, but the emphasis was on the west. It’s not a racist thing, it’s not an ethnic thing; it’s rather that Japheth has a role historically in clarifying issues. When the church split in AD 1000, four hundred years after this there was a big split, the Eastern Church and the Western Church. The Western Church centered at Rome; the Eastern Church centered at Constantinople. The orthodoxy of that Eastern Church is what has come to us today as the Greek Orthodox, the Russian Orthodox; you know from the architecture, it has a distinct architecture if you look at pictures of Romania, Russia, and Greece. They have that distinct architecture. That’s all associated with that Eastern Church.

The Eastern Church left prior to the Reformation, and it is primarily made up of Slavic peoples who are partly Japhetic but not as purely Japhetic as the Europeans. So there was a tension and always has been. The Eastern Orthodox group of the church has never got into systematics the way the west has. In the west there was a definite issue about shall the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father and the Son or does the Holy Spirit only proceed from the Father? I mean, in the East they never even asked the question, but in the west these were big issues. In the west was where the Protestant Reformation was, sola Scriptura, all those fine points, what is the authority, the fine points of what did Jesus do in the resurrection. That’s going to come up after AD 600 with the next phase. But this foundational era in the church is the period of time when the Holy Spirit gave the basis, so to speak, for the rest of the Church Age.

We studied this Canon issue, the authority of Scripture. I want to go to one passage, Galatians 1, because this is a passage you ought to remember if you get involved in discussions over the role of tradition. There are several things that you can remember, several ideas to remember. We’re thinking of those who in so called Christendom who hold to the fact that the Scriptures have to have an external authority, because you have to have an umpire to interpret them. And the umpire that interprets the Scriptures would be the church that gave the Scriptures. It sounds very accommodating, after all the argument goes, who produces the Scriptures, wasn’t it the apostles, wasn’t it the people in the church? So the church gave the Scriptures; well if the church gave the Scriptures then shouldn’t the church be the one that authoritatively interprets the Scriptures that the church gave? It sounds like a nice little argument until you get in passages like Galatians 1.

In Galatians 1 Paul is dealing with this issue of what is the gospel? Clearly, if there’s anything that’s the heart of Christianity it’s the gospel. That’s why Galatians 1 is such a powerful passage to remember and to use and to think about and to write down so you know where this passage is, you can go to this passage when you’re struggling yourself with doubts or when you’re discussing with someone else over the authority of Scripture. Why is it we make such a big deal about the authority of Scripture over against, say, tradition? The answer is in Galatians 1 Paul writes to these people, he’s trying to clarify what the gospel is, verse 4, “who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, [5] to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.”

Now watch what he says, watch the logic; there’s an argument here, follow the logic. Verse 6: “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel.” So what’s the issue, right away? It’s content, it’s doctrine—it’s a doctrinal issue. What is the content of the gospel that you are to believe? If you’re to believe something to be saved, clearly you ought to be careful what it is that you’re to believe because if you believe something wrong, you’re not going to be saved. The merit isn’t in the faith; the merit is in the object of the faith. That’s why the object of the faith is so clear. So here he says we have a different gospel; notice he’s quite clear that legalism is a different gospel. That’s pretty powerful language. Verse 7, “Which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ,” in other words it shouldn’t be dignified by the name gospel.

Verse 8, now this is the argument, watch the argument, “But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” It’s a malediction, or a curse, against himself. What he is saying here is that I taught you guys on a timeline that looks like this; here’s the time line, and this point, p1 Paul preaches the gospel, the true gospel. He got it from the Lord Jesus Christ and he preaches that gospel at this point. Let’s say down through time, p2, second point in time, Paul says well now, I changed my mind; I think the gospel is this. So at point p2 he’s teaching a different gospel than he taught at point p1. Look at verse 8, what’s the logic? He’s saying that the gospel preached at p2 can’t be different from the gospel that I preached at p1. If it is, it’s a false gospel and I am cursed.

Think about this. The issue is so clear if you think about Galatians 1:8. Does the authority for truth reside in the person of Paul, or does it reside in the message? It’s got to reside in the message because he’s clearly saying that an angel of I might preach another gospel, but “let him be accursed” if that happens. So what’s the standard? The standard is the gospel that was once preached. This gets back to nothing more than a New Testament version of an Old Testament principle. We’ve gone to this passage a number of times but I believe in repetition because repetition is part of training and you can’t repeat enough on some of this stuff because the pressure comes on and we get deflected and we’re thinking about this and thinking about that and it doesn’t come to mind when we need it. That’s the kind of thing—I’ve mentioned this in military training. I mentioned the marine telling about his training and he was sitting there, 7:00 o’clock at night, everything is cool, boom, all of a sudden they had incoming and they’re under attack. None of the guys in the unit had ever been under fire before so they hit the dirt, they deploy and they start moving around getting into position, start firing, and when the reporters asked this Marine about what was going on he said “my training took over.” That’s the exact message, “my training took over.” You know why? Because that military training is very vigorous, it’s repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, and when the heat comes on the training takes over.

Unfortunately we live in a generation that doesn’t like that. The whole idea of education today is just let people think for themselves. That’s fine, to think for yourself, the only problem is you need tools to think for yourself. That means vocabulary, that means definition of terms, [and] that means a sense of logic, etc. All those are the tools of thinking. When you get the tools you can think, but you’ve got to get the tools. Galatians 1:8 is one of the tools. Here is a clear cut unambiguous text that shows you that once revelation comes into historic existence it’s frozen, it can’t be changed. It’s like cement, like concrete, it sets up and that’s it and nobody can change it. That’s the nature of revelation; that’s the authority of the revelation. So Galatians 1:8 is a key passage.

I want to go back to those two passages in the Old Testament that go back to case law; case law concerning the issue of whether a man is a prophet or he isn’t a prophet. We’ll go through the two tests. Remember this is case law; this is laws of evidence that are used in a courtroom. We’re not just dealing with something in the classroom here, we’re dealing where somebody’s life is hanging in the balance. I’m doing this just to show you that the logic of Galatians 1:8 is not some new thing that Paul invented; it’s not some new thing the church created to justify the New Testament. It’s something they just continued right out of the Old Testament, it’s all here in the Old Testament.

In Deuteronomy 13 there’s one test of a prophet; in Deuteronomy 18 there’s the second test of a true prophet. We’re going to look at two tests that juries—if you were on a jury in a court in ancient Israel and you had to sit there on a trial for this guy who claimed to be a prophet. The problem you have if you’re hearing this case is how do you tell a true prophet from a false prophet and you’d better be right because this is capital punishment here so there’s not too much room for error.

In Deuteronomy 13:1 here’s one test of a prophet; watch how it works. “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,” so there’s a miracle, “and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying …” See if you just stopped there people would say ooh, he must be a prophet, he had a sign and a wonder and the sign and wonder came true, this guy does miracles, let’s everybody listen to him, let’s get him on Larry King Live, let’s talk about this, put it in the [National] Enquirer or something and we’ll have all the newsstands carrying this story about this man who had a miracle; just because he had a miracle makes him an authority. Is that what Deuteronomy 13 says? Look carefully, “and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ [3] you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams.”

Look at the test in verse 2; the test in verse 2 is consistency of teaching. It’s a theological test in verse 2, whether his theology lines up with the theology that’s already been revealed; whether his theology, in Jewish terms, is Mosaic. Is the theology Mosaic or isn’t it? If it’s logically consistent with Moses and it’s a miracle, okay. But if he has miracles and the teaching is not logically consistent with Moses, the miraculous evidences are null and void. That’s very interesting. The emphasis is therefore on the content of the teaching. You see, there’s a rational and logical consistency to doctrine from the start of revelation all the way on through. The human mind works this way, God made us to think this way. That’s why there has to be a continuity.

That’s one test of a prophet, theological continuity. Now go to Deuteronomy 18, the context is in verses 14–15, “For those nations which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do so.” There’s the difference between pagan religion and the true religion of the Bible. Notice in verse 14 it’s talking about demonic activity as a source of doctrine; false doctrine of paganism is demonically caused. And God says I want to make a difference because Israel’s purpose in history is to create a counter­culture that will being into existence the complete Canon of Scripture, will bring into existence the Messiah, [and] will bring into existence all the blessings of salvation to the rest of the human race. Israel has a function in history; that’s part of that function.

Now in order to make Israel work after Moses dies, there’s got to be a renewed revelation, completion of that revelation, so in verse 15, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me,” like who? Who’s the model prophet? Moses. Who is the guy who authored the five books that start the Old Testament? Moses. Do you see why it’s so important to know the Old Testament, because even Jesus as a prophet is modeled after Moses? Remember back many moons ago we had the tape of the debate with the Muslims. If Mohammed is a prophet, he falls under these tests and the tests are logical consistency with Moses. Is Mohammed logically consistent with Moses? No he isn’t.

“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me,” Moses being the archetype prophet, “from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.” By the way, “countrymen” means fellow Jews; Mohammed is not from the Jews. Verse 16: “This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly,” etc. Verse 17, “And the LORD said to me…. [18] I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth,” by the way, there’s the content. Now notice what a prophet does, again what is the authority? Is the authority in the human being who is the prophet, or is the authority in the content of his message? Answer: the authority is in the content of the message. “I will put My words in his mouth,” they’re not his words; they’re My words God says. “I will put My words in his mouth, and he will speak all that I command him. [19] And it shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I myself will require it of him.” That’s a serious little verse about not paying attention to the Word of God.

Verse 20, “But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My name,” what does it mean “to speak in My name”? To put on the religious front that this is orthodoxy and I’m speaking for God and all the rest of it. “But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he shall speak in the name of other gods,” that’s theological inconsistency, “that prophet shall die.” In other words, a capital offense under the law of Israel. Therefore since it’s a case law situation, obviously the next question is well that’s nice Moses, but how do we prosecute. Verse 21, “And you may say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’ [22] When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”

So the number two test is, notice it’s not denying the number one test; people get confused here. The number one test was the prophecy or the miracle comes true, but the teaching is inconsistent. What this is saying is, it’s a positive, it’s not a negative. He’s saying if the thing comes true that he has spoken and he has spoken it in the name of the Lord, that thing which he has spoken and it doesn’t come to pass, it’s a negative test. Verse 22 is not saying the miracle does come to pass; verse 22 is the miracle does not come to pass, see that’s not the same thing as chapter 13. Chapter 13 the miracle did come to pass but the guy was theologically inconsistent. In verse 22 the guy might even be theologically consistent but the miracle doesn’t happen, so therefore he’s not a prophet either; which shows you that these prophets were very, very special people.

Galatians 1:8 follows that same theme that it’s the content of the Word of God that’s authoritative. One further place in the New Testament where this same theme hits is 1 John. There are many places but I’m just picking out a few easy to remember places, because usually you need these passages when you’re not thinking too carefully and you say gee, where was that? So Deuteronomy 13, Deuteronomy 18; Galatians 1 and 1 John 1, those are four neat places to go to prove this point. In 1 John 1:1–3, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life—” Verse 3, “what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” The proclamation in verse 3 draws emphasis to the content again. It’s the authority. The apostolic fellowship is contingent upon “that which we have seen, that which we have heard,” in other words consistency with Jesus.

All of these basically hit the same idea that the church has got to have a source of authority. The problem with isolated traditions here and there is you can’t test them. How are you going to test a tradition about Mary, for example? Where are you going to go to test it? Well you don’t test it; you just accept it because that’s tradition. That’s not in the Scriptures, how do I know that that tradition about, say Mary, is coming from the apostles? How do I know that? There’s no way you can give me that I can test that. I certainly am not getting it out of the New Testament, so where is it coming from? Well it’s coming from the apostles left behind oral traditions. How do I know that they left behind oral traditions? Well you just have to take it on authority. Aha, the moment you say you have to take tradition on authority now we’ve got another authority than the Bible; now it’s the Bible plus this external authority, an authority external to the Bible.

Here’s a way to help you think about this. Let’s make an analogy; let’s draw a diagram. Let’s make an analogy between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Once you see it in the Old Testament it’s easy to see it in the New Testament. Let’s look at the Old Testament first. In the Old Testament Israel produced the Scripture? Moses, the prophets, Israel was the civilization that produced the Torah and the rest of the Bible, the prophets, the writings, etc. But once the Old Testament came into existence, what does Deuteronomy 13 and 18 say? Is Israel above the Old Testament or below it? It’s got to be below it because they’re deciding capital crime trials on the basis of the content of the Old Testament which clearly says the judicial system is operating under the authority of the Old Testament. So although Israel gave the Old Testament, God working through Israel, God working through Israel gave the Old Testament, once that revelation happened the nation was subservient to that revelation.

Now apply it to the church. Here’s the New Testament. The New Testament came through the apostles in the early church. But after it came through those apostles, what does Paul say in Galatians 1:8? The church from that point forward becomes subservient to the text. So that’s the battle we’re talking about that had to be dealt with in this foundational era. It was not completely resolved; we’re not saying it was. We’re saying, however, that the tools for resolving it were all put in place. There’s no excuse why the church took 1,000 more years to figure out what’s going on here about authority. And you know, the only reason they finally got it straight, in the Protestant Reformation they had a big argument about the nature of the church and that’s how they finally got it straight.

There’s one other thing that we want to clean up; the other thing that was going on in this foundational period, besides getting the independent identity, behind getting the authority settled was what we call theology proper, it’s an area called theology proper or Christology. Those are two terms that refer to areas of doctrine. Theology proper refers to the nature of God, the central core of theology. The central core of theology is the doctrine of the Trinity. So there were two great doctrines that the church resolved in this first 600 years. By the way, before Mohammed came along. In American prisons today, especially in the black inmates, Islam is coming in like a flood. Every time you see a false religion you’ve got to ask yourself why?

False religion is like a parasite that feeds off of weakness. This is just my take on why we have a lot of Muslim influence among the black inmates in prisons today, and that is that if you go out in the community, outside of the prison, among the black churches, you will find they are tremen­dously matriarchal; the women run everything. Now I’m not necessarily blaming this on the women; the men aren’t there. But historically it’s undeniable that it’s a very matriarchal society. Now the problem comes in, you’ve got young black men with no role models. They don’t know anything about authority. Furthermore, inside those churches there is a heritage that comes out of a gospel that was preached a hundred years ago. I mean the reason the black slaves were able to survive at all was they picked up a lot of the gospel. How they ever did it I don’t know, but they picked a lot of it up and that got perpetuated inside the black culture.

So many people inside the black culture talk in gospel terms, they talk about gospel music or black gospel music, etc. Yet the understanding of what the real gospel is isn’t that clear. I’m being told this by black pastors that try to teach the Word of God because I’ve gone out of my way when I’ve found these fellows to ask them to help me understand what is going on here. They point out that even, if you listen to Tony Evans on the radio you know how he preaches, there’s a style, there’s a black preaching style, and I was asking a friend of mine who is a black pastor about the style of preaching, you know, you work the congregation up, you get them going. I asked him, “Where did that get started—I’m just curious.” He gave me an interesting answer, he said the reason that preaching style got started historically was because the pastors found out that they were dealing with largely illiterate people, they couldn’t read the Bible, so forty, fifty, eighty, years ago what did they have to do? They had to do it so that they could remember it. So they would repeat and they would repeat and repeat and put it in kind of a sing-song to get rhythm to it, but that was the only way they could teach because you had a largely illiterate group.

To make a long story short, when these guys who are like the white guys, basically they’re losers that wind up in prison, or unfortunately there are accidents in the court system and they are in there and they really don’t belong in there. But the point is that you’re in this prison culture, you’ve lost your life’s meaning, you’re up against this and all of a sudden I think what happens is they want some sort of authority. They gravitate to something that satisfies the masculinity in their soul for authority. And I say to you as Christians, Islam doesn’t use growth techniques to propagate itself. They don’t have football games and sweet little songs and neighborhood surveys to propagate Islam. They come in, right from the front door, this is the way we believe, if you don’t like it you can leave, boom, boom, boom, it’s all on content. And they really put to shame Christians who ought to be doing the same thing about the gospel (but don’t). So here you have a pendulum shift. What was missing over here we appear to get over here.

In these first 600 years a lot of thought went into clarifying who God is by virtue of the Trinity and Christology. Yet when you look at … I was given a little tract that was going around these guys to win them to Islam; it’s got the most trivial, superficial arguments against the deity of Christ I’ve ever seen. I mean, the Mormons can do better than that; the Jehovah’s Witnesses do better than that. I mean, this was really trashy illogical arguments. Anybody that’s won by that, they really don’t have their head screwed on too well. But let’s review something here. In those first 600 years the church did not, contrary to Muslim propaganda and even Jehovah Witness propaganda, the church didn’t just make this up. To listen to these people it’s like the church theologians had a smoke-filled room and they got together and they plotted this doctrine of the Trinity thing, just made it up, had nothing else to do, they were only being persecuted by Rome, but they had nothing else to do and were on a vacation one day so they went out and they thought this Trinity thing up. What a piece of garbage that is, it’s illogical. Or, they can’t read their own New Testament, the New Testament says Jesus is a man, and yet they claim He’s God, I mean, can’t they get their logic together. It took the church 600 years to get it together, by brilliant Christians.

We’ve gone through this before, how the deity of Christ was handled; how the Trinity was handled. We’ve dealt with the hypostatic union, and let me review for you the subtleties of the argument. Let’s go to a New Testament passage. This is a typical way the church came to the conclusion that Jesus was God. What these clowns say, oh, show me a verse where Jesus is God. Well I can show you several verses where Jesus is God, but those few verses here and there aren’t the sum and substance of the argument. There’s a more powerful argument. The verses are there by the way, in spite of what Jehovah’s Witnesses, who have two and a half days of Greek and they think they know what’s going on in John 1. John 1 is clearly saying that Jesus was the Word of God, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And what became flesh and dwelt among us? The Word. So clearly John’s talking about the deity of Christ.

But we have to go back and think how did first century monotheistic Jew, I mean, let’s think this through, how do you explain the fact that monotheistic Jews came to the conclusion that this human person, a guy from Nazareth, walking around on two feet like everybody else, was God and still be monotheistic Jews? Do you see the problem? Of all places, that could have happened in India and it wouldn’t have been a problem. That could have happened in Greece and it wouldn’t have been a problem. But to happen inside Israel with monotheistic Jews coming to the conclusion that the Messiah is God. This is tremendous. And obviously there was some force that was working on their souls to produce this. So let’s go to Ephesians 4, this is something we’ve handled before. We won’t go back to all the arguments we did in Part Five of this series, but Ephesians 4 is a classic instance of this form of argument, and it’s imbedded throughout the whole New Testament. Unfortunately this kind of argument revolves or depends for its effectiveness on the people who hear it knowing the Old Testament.

If you look at Ephesians 4 it talks about Christ giving gifts to the church, verse 7, and it if you have a study Bible you’ll see this is a citation out of the Old Testament text. Verse 8: “Therefore it says, ‘When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.’” And by the way, in verse 9, there’s how Paul taught, that’s expository preaching, that’s exegesis. See what he’s doing, he’s going through each word in the text and explaining it. In verse 9 he says, now this expression, “Now that ‘He ascended’, what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?” So verses 9–10 is a sample of how Paul probably taught out of the Old Testament; it gives you a feel for how he just would pick up a word and he’d explain that word and he’d go over that word and he’d contrast the word with its opposite until his hearers understood the meaning of that term. Then he’d go to the next term and he’d explain the next term, verse by verse.

Hold the place here and let’s go back where he got that. If you have a study Bible it’s referenced to Psalm 68. Let’s go back there and see what we can see; clearly Paul saw something or he wouldn’t have picked the Psalm. So let’s go back to the Psalm and look at it from the standpoint of the Old Testament, the standpoint of a monotheistic Jew. First of all, look at the title of the Psalm. In the Old Testament the Psalms were not numbered in the Hebrew; they had titles, and the title is what you usually see in the small print. This Psalm title is “For the choir director. A Psalm of David. A song.” Verse 1, “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered,” usually the first verse that’s translated the first verse in English is actually the title in the Hebrew. That’s why when Jesus was dying on the cross, the gospel writers report Jesus to have said on the cross while He was dying for our sins, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” It’s true that He said that, but it’s true that He said a lot more, because “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” is actually the title to Psalm 22. So you can read that Gospel notation about Jesus on the cross as simply saying … what the Gospel writers are saying is He recited Psalm 22, the whole thing. He didn’t just recite the verse. It would be like today saying yeah, Jesus was on the Cross and while He was hanging there He recited Psalm 22. It’s their way of saying that, because they didn’t have Psalm 22 as a title, they had the first verse as a title.

Here, that’s the title, “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; and let those who hate Him flee before Him.” Clearly it’s a military setting; clearly it’s talking about some future time when evil will be suppressed. If you go down through the Psalm, verse 4, “Sing to God, sing praises to His name.” Verse 6, “God makes a home for the lonely. …” Verse 7, “O God, when Thou didst go forth before Thy people, when Thou didst march through the wilderness, [8] The earth quaked,” what event is that? The Exodus, it’s talking about a historical thing. Verse 11, “The Lord gives the command; the women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host. [12] Kings of armies flee, they flee….”

Now it comes to verse 17, “The chariots of God are myriads, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them as at Sinai, in holiness.” So there’s the comparison between the past event, Mount Sinai and some future event David sees in vision. “Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captive Thy captives.” Question: verse 18 starts with a pronoun, it’s a singular second person pronoun, “Thou.” A pronoun refers back to its antecedent noun. What is the antecedent noun of the pronoun in verse 18? It’s God. Okay, if God is the antecedent noun behind the pronoun “Thou” in verse 18 and Paul is picking up this whole verse 18 and he’s applying it to Jesus Christ, what does that make Christ? Jehovah of the Old Testament. And I can show you case after case after case where this is done in the New Testament. The reason this doesn’t his most people hard is because most people just read it through, oh, that’s an Old Testament verse, well that’s If they did read the Old Testament they’d be hit between the eyes here. This is a powerful, powerful argument.

How do you explain a monotheistic Jew deliberately equating Jesus of Nazareth with Yahweh, a God of the Old Testament? How do you do that one? How do you explain that it’s implicit in the whole text of the writings? It’s not just a verse here and a verse there and 800 verses in between. We’re talking about the logical foundation of the argument presumes that Jesus of Nazareth is Jehovah God, and it’s cases like Ephesians 4 and Psalm 68. So that’s something else you can put in your notes and remember. If you want to show somebody this powerful way the New Testament writers had that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed Jehovah God. They’re not stupid people here. And it took 600 years for the church to get this right, and there were a lot of arguments during this time.

Remember in Part V we said there were heresies. Remember what some of the heresies were? Let’s talk about that because they had to flush this out, they had to take out the trash and they had a lot of trash that they had to take out.

One of the heresies that prevented this was Monarchianism. Monarchianism is the belief that God is one, and if Jesus is distinct from God, then Jesus can’t be holy God, so God must be distinct from Jesus and maybe Jesus we can explain by saying God sent His Spirit into a man and that’s Jesus. That was one approach. It’s still used today; Unitarians used that in New England. It’s an error that keeps on going, but it was discovered … [blank spot]

Between the time of Jesus’ ascension and Pentecost in 600 there were brilliant believers, and there were brilliant unbelievers and they went it council after council, year after year, until they finally nailed this thing down. And when they didn’t nail it down, when they had some lose piece out here, somebody would quote Scripture and shoot it down. That’s the process. So understand that the doctrine of the Trinity and the doctrine of the hypostatic union of Jesus are the result of over 500 years of intense debate. Every possible answer was given. People say oh well, they should have done it this way; they already did that dodo, they considered that and the problem with that view is that it didn’t pan out, it didn’t fit the Scriptures, it got shot down in the councils. They said that’s a nice idea of who Jesus is but it doesn’t fit this verse, this verse and this verse. Oh, okay, I’ll have to give that one up; well let’s try this answer.

They had another idea called Modal Monarchianism, and Modal Monarchianism argued God is one, basic assumption. Then if we’ve got the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son, what that really must be is God showing up with different masks. So here He puts His Father mask on and He shows up here; He puts the Son mask on and He shows up here; He puts the Holy Spirit mask on and He shows up there, but it’s really God. The problem with that Modal Monarchianism is if the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are only masks, what is the real God like? That was Athanasius’ argument; if they are only masks and I only know God in His masks I don’t know Him and I’m not saved. Athanasius was a bishop, he came out of Alexandria, he was brilliant, and he got fed up with Arius and all the other people trying these screwy ideas to explain who Jesus was and who God was, and he nailed both of them. You read in church history you’ll see that Athanasius blasted the anti-Trinitarians, and he blasted the people who denied the full deity and humanity of Jesus. His argument methodology always went the same way: Athanasius said if Jesus Christ isn’t God then you are not saved because you don’t know God. If knowing Jesus means salvation and Jesus is not God, then I’m not saved. That’s how they ended Modal Monarchianism. If it’s only masks and it’s not the real God then I’m not saved, I don’t know Him.

Then they used a lot of Scripture. They answered the Modal Monarchianism and said, “Hey, you guys think you’ve got the answer? Tell me, who was Jesus talking to in the Garden of Gethsemane?” Was he doing this number, first He was putting on His Jesus mask, and then He stepped over here and was talking from His God mask, God the Father mask, and then He’s talking about Jesus. I mean, was this a soliloquy he was carrying on here? Or, are there two persons that were talking. Yeah, it’s a hard doctrine, we’re talking about God. We have problems talking about whether a particle inside the atom is a particle or a wave, and there are physical theories about light is a wave and light is a photon, it’s a particle, but I’ve never seen a wave-ical and yet you have these two competing models. It’s hard, and that’s only the creation.

Now do we wonder why it’s hard when we start talking about God? We haven’t figured out the creation yet, leave alone God. So yes, there’s difficulties here, but there’s nothing illogical … there is nothing illogical, there’s a difference and let me define some terms here. There’s rational and irrational. Rational means something is logically consistent. Irrational means it’s not logically consistent. The Greeks, remember back when you studied algebra in high school, the teacher talked about something called an irrational number, and today we talk about that, we just go on about an irrational number. Do you know why it’s called an irrational number? Because the Greeks did not feel that they could logically get hold of that. And there are mathematicians to this day who hold that non-rational numbers don’t exist, it’s just a figment of people’s imagination. If you think about it they’ve got kind of an interesting argument because computers can only use a certain type of number and you can say on the real number scale … there’s a whole bunch of stuff associated with number theory.

But the point I’m trying to make here is yes, it’s difficult, but it’s not illogical; it’s hard to under­stand how the Father can be this and that, but you can’t show there’s a contradiction there. Jehovah’s Witnesses like to say well God can’t be one and can’t be three. Well yes He can, from one aspect He’s one in His essence, and from another aspect He’s three in His personality. That’s not just hedging. God has a oneness to Him, and He has a threeness to Him. Obviously it would be illogical if we said that He is one person and three persons, but that’s not what the doctrine of the Trinity says. The church fathers used two different words there, nature and person. If you read what was going on during these 600 years you realize these guys had their heads screwed on. The level of intense debate and thinking that went in during these years, during these centuries, was tremendous. If somebody is serious about it they really need to read what happened back then, and we come to conclusions. Theology proper, the doctrine of the Trinity, that was stated and it was stated clearly by AD 600 and the arguments were both logical and Scriptural. And if you doubt me get a good book on church history and read about what was going on then, don’t take my word for it, go read. They tried every conceivable answer. The Unitarian answer was tried and it was found wanting. The other kinds of answers were tried, they were discussed, they were debated and they were found wanting.

And then finally Jesus Christ in His hypostatic union, the doctrine of the hypostatic union was advanced in the Council of Chalcedon. I’ll give you that word because it’s an important word, sometimes it’s pronounced Cal-sa-don, sometimes it’s pronounced Cal-see-don, I’ve heard it both ways by scholars who study it so it beats me which one. The Council of Chalcedon was the council that concluded after 500 years of argument that Jesus Christ was undiminished deity and true humanity united in one person. We call that the Chalcedon Christology. The western church clarified this to the nth degree; both Roman Catholics and Protestants agree on a Chalcedon statement of Jesus Christ. On that both Catholics and Protestants, now I mean faithful Catholics, not the American kind, but Catholics that really know their Catholic dogma agree to the Chalcedon Christ.

This was debated over all kinds of things. When this debate was going on they had to deal with things like Jesus divine characteristics, His humanity, they dealt with the works that He did, that was another argument that they used. Who did the kind of works Jesus did? Do you remember that one of the most dramatic works that He did was on the Sea of Galilee. It was in the middle of a storm. We can read that story and think of it as sort of a magic story, one of the great world magicians happened to do this thing, pulled it off, David Copperfield or something, that it was just a David Copperfield thing? No! Again read it as a Jew would have experienced it on that Sea; when that ocean did its thing, and Jesus said according to the Gospel, “Be still,” and what happened? What was the report? It took five hours for the storm to kind of calm down after He said “Be still”? No, look at the text. He said “Be still” and boom, it stopped. Where did all the momentum go? I’m a meteorologist, I’ve got winds blowing around here, I’ve got mass and motion, and I’d like to know, how the heck did He evacuate all of the momentum out of the system. In one instant it happened. He just destroyed it; He sucked the energy right out of it with a word. Now that word that sucked the energy out of the storm instantly is the same word that created the universe. It’s that word, that spoken Word of God. When He said “Let there be light” He’s talking about the light of the whole cosmos, and it was that word.

I want to take you to the Old Testament again to show you the force of that argument, why there are subtleties to the argument that only believers whose heart is warm to the Scriptures can sense. Turn to Psalm 29; good Jews would have remembered this. Good Jews would have seen Jesus doing His thing and immediately perceived Psalm 29, why, that’s the work of Jehovah; I remember that from my Torah class or my writings class, the Ketuvim, that’s Yahweh. Look at Psalm 29, “Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty; ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. [2] Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name, worship the LORD in holy array. [3] The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD upon many waters. [4] The voice of the LORD is powerful, the voice of the LORD is majestic.” Verse 10: “The LORD sat as King at the flood; Yes, the LORD sits as King forever.”

Suppose you were a Jew and you know Psalm 29, and you see this man, Jesus, who claims to be the Messiah, and He goes out on the Sea of Galilee and you know the Sea of Galilee because you’ve been across it time and time again, you’ve seen hundreds of storms on the Sea of Galilee and you never ever saw something like this, the guy says “Be still,” knock it off, and it stops. Can you imagine how you would have interpreted that knowing Psalm 29; it’s a work of God. So that’s why there are divine works.

You’ll see underneath divine works in this diagram divine worship. Think about it. Where else in the Bible do you ever see even an angel accepting human worship? What do you notice in Bible stories when men go to worship an angel? What do the angels usually do? Stop, don’t do that; angels do not permit men to worship them, the good angels. Did Jesus let people worship Him? You bet He did. He accepted worship. That’s an act of blasphemy if He isn’t God. So that’s why all these arguments and we’ve dealt with them before, we’re not going to review all the details, all I’m doing is taking you on a quick tour of the fact that there were many, many arguments that went on, all of them finally concluding that Jesus Christ was God and man and that the Trinity is true.

That concludes the foundational era of the church. On your notes I reference those pages, if you want more details, Part V, we went over all those details. On page 92 you’ll see that we’re going to go and deal with the so-called Middle Ages. When we do that we’re going to deal with a theme. Just as these first six 600 years dealt with two things, authority of the Scriptures and who God is, what do you suppose is the next thing? See the Holy Spirit teaching the church through the centuries? There is a logical consistency as to how the Holy Spirit has taught the church. First you have to have the authority of revelation and get clear in your head who God is. That took 600 years. What do you suppose the next step is? If you’re getting a clearer picture of God, what’s the next thing that strikes you? How can I be saved? So lo and behold, the next era is going to clarify what redemption is all about, and that was the argument of the Middle Ages and the Protestant Reformation. What did Jesus really do on the cross? Now that we understand who He is, now let’s spend the next 500 years figuring out what He did on the cross in detail. And that’s exactly what… if you look at a systematic theology here’s an observation that’s fascinating to me.

Do you know that today you can go to systematic theology, systematic theology is all the doctrines in a certain sequence, and you know what? The sequence of the doctrines in a systematic theology correspond to the way they were articulated in church history, because the way these doctrines were hardened and fastened into place … eschatology, for example, is always the last volume in a systematic theology. Do you know what the first volume is? Theology proper, Bibliology, that’s the way they’re organized because men think that way. There’s a logical consistency the Holy Spirit is a logical teacher. So we’ll move on to the next group, “Grasping What Redemption is All About.”

Question asked, something about does anyone ever argue that it’s the Father giving gifts in measure to us relationally to what He gave to Christ: Clough replies: I haven’t seen any of the key commentators argue that way. [same person says I don’t mean Christian commentators, I mean someone like Jehovah’s Witnesses] I don’t know, usually when you read Jehovah’s Witness literature you’re not reading a classical commentary. They don’t usually write that way; they write more like articles. So you’d have to get an article where they specifically address that, I wouldn’t know. [same person says something else, can’t hear] I think you could show the identity with the Son by drawing the parallel between other passages of what Jesus does, His role, what He is doing as the ascended Christ.

Remember one of the fundamental rules of Bible interpretation; you can’t go wrong basically if you remember this. If you can think of concentric circles, when you’re having a problem with a passage, if you’ll okay, here is Paul writing in Ephesians so the first place you look is right there in Ephesians. You look to see if there’s anything else in that immediate epistle that helps you deal with the problem. Then if you can’t find anything that helps you there you go to other Pauline writings. So now you’re dealing a little bit further out of context because now he’s addressing other situations using other lines of argument, but it’s the same guy, his basic theology hasn’t changed so okay.

If you can’t find it there, then you go back to other writers of the New Testament and you keep expanding outward until you get help, but each time you expand the context out it becomes more complicated because now you’re working with a different guy that has different nuances. For example, John and Paul do not use the word “eternal life” the same way. Those two guys operated differently, they’ve got their own vocabulary and you have to know there’s a Johannine approach to that word and there’s a Pauline approach to the word. It’s not that in the end they differed, it’s that they had their own way of phrasing it. Which, by the way, goes to show you another aspect about inspiration of Scripture—that God used individual men, including their individuality. It’s amazing that God didn’t destroy the uniqueness of Paul by using Paul; He didn’t turn Paul into some sort of a robot that walked around like a tinker toy or something, he was fully Paul when he was writing. But the way I would handle that is just using Paul and how Paul conceives Christ in His role. Of course, we’re talking about the ascended Christ; the Father didn’t ascend, the Father didn’t descend, so who else is there here?

Question asked: Clough replies: The other thing here to notice, and that’s why I paused when I was teaching that passage in the lesson, if you look at verses 9 and 10, it’s always been interesting to me that that’s one of those rare places where you get a feel for how Paul must have taught in a synagogue context because first of all, in a synagogue context he was talking to people who were highly literate in the Old Testament. Now by literate I mean maybe they didn’t read literally but they had heard the Torah and they had heard the Ketuvim and Nevi’im, the prophets, they heard those things so much being read in Hebrew, that I bet they had memorized most of it. So when he would refer to something like that, most of those people just knew it cold.

When I was in Israel in 1976 what impressed me about the memory ability was you’d see Jewish kids and Moslem kids, little ten-year-old kids, walking by the side of the road holding the Old Testament or the Quran, and it’s clear what they were doing; they were memorizing it. In the West we usually don’t, we’re all sloppy in the way we memorize. The school system kind of demeans memory as rote memory and it’s kind of demeaned in educational circles, but actually most of the world, and particularly in the ancient world, they stressed mnemonic gimmicks to remember long strings of things. Aristotle tells of a mnemonic method he taught his students of associating things you wanted to remember with rooms in your house, pieces of furniture. He said you walk through your house and you know where this is, this is, this is and this is, so you associate this idea with that, this idea with that, and he goes on and develops this whole mnemonic thing. They taught kids how to remember. It’s clear that these people did that.

But here when Paul is teaching you see how he picks it apart? It’s very clear that Paul would chew on these verses, and if he was using this kind of approach, as he does in verse 9, where he takes one verb, “he ascended” and he begins to preach on it, on one verb, then he probably comes around and he takes the next one. So it probably took him hours to go through a passage of Scripture. That’s how he would work these passages. But it’s lost; the power of what I was trying to show you from Ephesians 4 and Psalm 68 is lost on someone who doesn’t have any background of the Scriptures. That’s the problem with the method; we’re all Gentile ex-pagans here so we come duh! We don’t have that background and we have to work hard to get that background. It takes a lot of hours of reading the Old Testament before you get it under your belt and feel like you at least have some command of the thing. It’s not done in five minutes, it’s not done the first two weeks you’re a Christian. It takes you months and years to get hold of that, if ever. Then you really have to be prodded and you have to have sermons on it.

Here’s something else that I’ve noticed, in all evangelical churches, if you go back and ask yourself, of every place you’ve ever gone to church, if you think mentally of the last fifty sermons you’ve heard, wherever it’s been, the last fifty sermons you’ve heard, what percent of those fifty sermons are on the Old Testament? I think it’s a pretty small percent. Do you see the problem with that is that when that happens we’re not being given the foundation we need in order to appreciate the New Testament. The New Testament constantly assumes we know the Old Testament. This is why one of the things in that first 600 years the church had to have that Old Testament to get it together.

Question asked, something about the monotheistic Jew and the Trinity: Clough replies: It wasn’t solitary, it wasn’t a solitary monotheism that developed in the Old Testament. You’re right; there is a richness in the monotheism of the Old Testament text. What I was addressing when I made my point about monotheistic Jews using this approach and it being a departure is that they would not have gone in the direction of identifying a man with Jehovah had they not seen Jesus and the Trinity as an out flowing of that richness you’re talking about. Take that whole point now, over against what you hear from the Unitarian theologies today on this side, centuries later. The Unitarian theologies I group as Islam, as your cults, your various cults are all basically Unitarian, Jehovah Witnesses, etc.

So where you have the strong Unitarian view … and in fact, post-biblical, post-New Testament non-Messianic Jews are the same way, because you can see at the dialogue that happens now between the church …, remember one of the things the church did in the first 600 years, separate identity, well what happened is you had a rupture happen so that those who are left back in the Jewish community reacted against these Jews who were believing in Jesus and they went after it, and to “protect themselves” (quote, end quote) what they did is they hardened up their monotheism so it wasn’t what you said it was in the Old Testament. Now they’ve hardened it up to defend themselves against these Christians. So solitary monotheism became more hard-nosed after the Christian gospel spread and it did so as a defensive reaction to Trinitarianism.

But people who argue, I’m talking about the usual apologetic argument you get as well gee, the Trinity is irrational. No, the Trinity is not irrational; it’s only irrational if you’ve already decided to be a solitary monotheist. But that’s the theological position that you’ve taken, and what’s the evidence for you taking that position. So yes, there was a richness. In fact there is a verse in the Old Testament you really need to know because this verse in the Old Testament is a clear indication of the richness. Look at Isaiah 48; to me this is one of the most powerful verses in the Old Testament for the Trinity. This is even more powerful than the “we” in Genesis 1, which, by the way, in the Koran Allah always speaks in terms of “we.”

In Isaiah 48:16, this is one you want to write down and keep in your notes somewhere, it’s a very useful verse to show that in the Old Testament there was a richness to their idea of God. Look at this, look at the last clause in verse 16. “Now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.” The “Me” is a pronoun, and that pronoun refers to whom? A pronoun always refers to an antecedent. What’s the antecedent of the pronoun “Me”? Verse 16, the first phrase says “Come near to Me and listen to this: from the first I have not spoken in secret, from the time it took place, I was there.” Verse 15, it’s still the same speaker, “I, even I, have spoken: indeed I have called him, I have brought him, and he will make his ways successful.” You go all the way up in that passage to verse 12 and it’s clear who’s doing the speaking. Who’s doing the speaking in verse 12? It’s the God of Israel. So now if the God of Israel is the speaker, and He’s the noun, the antecedent to the pronoun “Me” in verse 16, how do you handle that one? You’ve got to see that there’s a richness within God of the Old Testament. It’s almost like a looseness there; it says “the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.” If that isn’t talking about the Trinity I don’t know what is. There’s the richness.

You could also go into a number of other passages, but I think of all the verses in the Old Testament, you remember that one, Isaiah 48:16, it’s a classic reference, and if you want to hear people skid around and hit grease, watch how they handle that one. It’s fun to watch all the explanations that have come up for that one.

Question asked, something about why couldn’t they understand: Clough replies: Many of them did, it’s just that those who disbelieved refashioned Judaism into its present state. But the Judaism we know is not the Judaism of the Old Testament. Arnold Fruchtenbaum and other Hebrew Christians point this out, that Judaism today is not the Judaism of yesterday; it’s Judaism that has refracted. It’s like, you take a ball and bounce it off the wall, the Judaism we know in our Jewish friends who are not Christians is like the ball that’s bounced off the wall. The Old Testament Judaism was much looser and more accommodating like this is.

For example, I’ll give another case, my Hebrew Christian friends tell me that in pre-Christian Judaism there wasn’t any commentator that didn’t accept Isaiah 53 as Messianic, but after the gospel and after the Christians came out and they used Isaiah 53 with such power that they had to do something to defend themselves against it, so they turned the interpretation of Isaiah 53 into referring to the nation Israel instead of the Messiah. But that interpretation of Isaiah 53 is a post-Christian interpretation. So you’re dealing with history here, you’re dealing with people who have reacted to the gospel negatively and positively.

Another fascinating example of this Jewish mind is I’m sure many of you heard about Christ and the Passover, you might have seen demonstrations of this, if you get a Hebrew Christian they’ll lay out Passover and they’ll go through the elements of Passover with you and show you how Christ is in the Passover. Well, if you’d ever have sat through a Passover, a Jewish Passover explained by a Jew who understands what the deal is, you wonder, for crying out loud, man, every year they put on this Passover and they can’t see what’s going on here? For example, in a very Jewish home, the man is the head. Do you know that the man can’t do a thing in Passover until the woman lights the candle, can’t do anything in a Jewish home until the woman lights the candle. Now come on, how did that get started? Then it goes on and on, all the little elements that go on in the Passover.

The theory is from people who studied that is that they think what actually happened was there were so many Christian Jews that they actually altered the classic Old Testament Passover, so ironically the Passover that’s going on in Jewish communities today has its origin in the first century Jews who were Christians; they had such influence they actually influenced the shape of the Passover because from what I understand, I’ve been told that the modern Passover, nobody knows what the Old Testament Passover … they know they had the slaughter of a lamb but you don’t do that today, so it was a little different under the temple. So this Passover that keeps pointing to Christ, like the three loaves of bread. Three loaves, it’s not four, it’s not two, it’s three loaves of bread stuck in this cloth. I can’t remember all the stuff. There’s about ten different things in this Passover celebration and you’re saying wow, talk about correct doctrine and Christology, I’ll go to a Jewish Passover and get more doctrine out of a Jewish Passover than you do a liberal church.

Someone says something: Clough replies: Especially when they’re out to get you for being a Christian. You’re under siege here; this is not just a nice theology discussion going on in a safe house. This is theology being discussed when we have a government that’s out killing Christians. So that’s the context in which some of this took place, not all of it but some of it was under fire. This is theology under fire here. So it’s amazing what these guys did. What you usually here is well, it was imported from the Greeks. I’m waiting for someone to say that to me and I’m going to challenge them, where in the Greeks, pardon me but I’ve read Plato and Aristotle, would you mind showing me passages in Plato and Aristotle where the Trinity came from. And then if they don’t do that they’ll say well in India they have a Trinity in Hinduism. No they don’t. Francis Schaeffer said years ago the statute that has three faces on it that they always point to, he says anybody who thinks that that’s the Trinity has never gone to India because in India you walk around it and it’s got six faces. In an artistic presentation you only see the front side. I mean this is the stuff that goes on; there is no Trinity anywhere else.

And where there is a kind of Trinity remarkably is in the structure of time and space. We have three dimensions in space; we have three dimensions in time. And we have three dimensions in the energy area, and that was Nathan R. Wood, the founder of Gordon College back in the 1920s who was a physicist I think, pointed that out. He says isn’t it strange that we only have three kinds of time; we have three kinds of space, three dimensions, where does all this threeness come from? Is that arbitrary? That wasn’t done in a smoke-filled room.

Next time we’ll go into the Middle Ages and start talking about how the church started thinking about what did Christ do? We know who He is but what did He do?