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"Trinity": The Christian Name for God

Sermon One


Over the next few Sundays we'll explore a concept of God unique to Christian spirituality called the Trinity. It's not a simple concept. On my way to church this morning I rushed into Starbucks, and my barista friend asked me, "So, what are you preaching on today?" "Um, God," I said. "Could you be a little more specific?" "Actually, no," I said. I just wanted to get to church and I didn't have time to explain Trinitarian theology.

At the very heart of Christian spirituality there is a notion called "the Trinity." It's so central that one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century, Karl Barth, could even say, "Trinity is the Christian name for God." He wasn't talking about a character in The Matrix, but the very essence of God. God is a Trinity of three-in-one, co-equal and yet distinct, called the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The concept of the Trinity isn't simple, and there is no way I can make it simple. One of my mentors, C. S. Lewis, once said, "Everyone has warned me … 'The ordinary reader does not want theology; give him plain practical religion.' I have rejected their advice. I do not think the ordinary reader is such a fool. Theology means 'the science of God,' and I think anyone who wants to think about God at all would like to have the clearest and most accurate ideas about him which are available."

The Trinity is not simple. But, if you think about it, most of reality isn't simple. For instance, every one of the trillions of cells in your body is incredibly complex. Even the proteins in your cells are complex. Family relationships are complicated. Football ...

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Matt Woodley serves as the Editor for and the Pastor of Compassion Ministries at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois. He is also the author of God With Us: The Gospel of Matthew (IVP).

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Sermon Outline:


I. Understanding the Trinity

II. The Trinity in the New Testament

III. Applying the doctrine of the Trinity

What difference does it make?