One of my concerns with the current emphasis on “seeing Jesus in all of Scripture” and of focusing Bible teaching almost exclusively on what it says about Jesus is this: Are we inadvertently minimizing the essential doctrine of the Trinity? Please don’t misunderstand: I am NOT saying that we should minimize Jesus! Rather, I am wondering if, in doing so, we have sometimes failed to show our children and students the importance of recognizing and understanding the triune nature of God and why it is essential to the Christian faith. As Dr. Bruce Ware has stated,
This doctrine is, at one time, a very significant distinguishing doctrine of the Christian faith. In another sense, it is a doctrine that is crucial for us in understanding much other doctrine of the Christian faith. Let me give you just one example…Think, for example, of salvation as we think of that as Christian people. Do you realize that it must be a Trinitarian God who saves if there is to be salvation from sin for sinners? Here is why. When you think of how salvation worked; it required that the Father send His Son into the world. Now, why is that? Because the Son had to come who was both divine and human. He had to be divine so that the payment for our sin would be of sufficient value to pay for all of our sin, for all time. A payment was made in full. He had to be human so he would take our place in dying for sin. It required that the Son submit to the will of the Father and receive the wrath of the Father against His own Son so that God would be satisfied, propitiated is the word that is used in Romans 3, as His Son made the payment for our sin. The Son who comes must live His life as a human being and He must live sinless and carry out the will of the Father every single moment of every day of His life. To do that the Holy Spirit comes upon Him so that He is empowered by the Spirit to live the life that He lived, to speak the things that He spoke, and perform the miracles that He did. He did so in the power of the Spirit so that He could go to the cross as obedient and sinless. Here we have the doctrine of salvation, which requires the Father being the One who sends the Son and judges sin in the Son, the Son who comes, who is at one in the same time both God and man, and the Spirit who is God empowering the man Jesus to live the life that He lived. The Trinity is required for salvation to be true.
(From, “The Doctrine of the Trinity” from www.monergism.com)
This is one reason we tweaked our distinctions this past year in order to reflect our desire to keep the Trinity central in our vision, mission, and teaching:
- A Big Vision of God
Our curricula aims to acquaint children with the incomparable majesty of the triune God by digging deep into His divine character as revealed throughout Scripture. We believe that children should be taught the beauty and grandeur of His manifold perfections. In completing our scope and sequence, children will have learned and explored, with increasing depth, more than 20 distinct attributes of God.
- The Centrality of God in All Things
Every lesson in every curricula aims to magnify the triune God above all—His name, fame, honor, and glory. We believe that children will find their greatest joy when they esteem God most. Therefore, the lessons use language, illustrations, and applications that point children toward God-adoration. Furthermore, the curricula challenge children to see that every aspect of life is to fall under centrality of God and His sovereign rule.
This commitment will not mean emphasizing Jesus less in our teaching. Hopefully, it will mean that our children and students gain a bigger and grander vision of who Jesus is in light of His triune nature as we see Father, Son, and Holy Spirit magnified together as the one, true God.
This week, I took this test posted by Tim Challies—to see how well I understand the doctrine of the Trinity. I commend this test to all parents, teachers, and senior high students.
(Image courtesy of Tuomas_Lehtinen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)