Churches tangled in understanding identity of God

Published 10:51 am Wednesday, July 6, 2011

To the Editor:
I am always fascinated whenever I observe the churches of Christendom getting all tangled up when they try to explain the identity of God. I see this in the article, “Understanding faith in Holy Spirit,” (TDB June 16, 2011, page 8), where the author said that because of “our human limitations of language and comprehension,” we “cannot conclusively know the manner of the interrelatedness of God,” speaking of the three parts of the “Godhead.” He did admit candidly that “It is all really quite confusing,” but we have to realize that the reason it is confusing is that the understanding is wrong.
He inadvertently pointed to the reason for the confusion when he said that some churches derive their interpretations from “western Roman roots,” and some from “the eastern traditions of Constantinople.” These traditions, which are interpretations not based on scripture, were added to the teachings of the Bible by the third and fourth centuries, thus obscuring the truth of the Bible.
Jesus most emphatically condemned the first century scribes and Pharisees in his day for doing that, because in the 15th chapter of Matthew, he condemned them for going beyond the scriptures by their traditions, and in verse six he said, “Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect (or invalid) by your tradition.”
So, we need to look only to the Bible itself to know conclusively the relationships among the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
At the time of Jesus’ baptism, the Father gave us the clearest possible identity of Jesus at Matthew 3:17, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” So, the Father, as a separate being and from a separate location, declared that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Some 30 years after Jesus was taken back to heaven, the apostle Peter wrote at 1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
So, Christ has a God that he worships. While still on earth, in his last prayer recorded in the Bible, Jesus prayed at John 17:1, “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.’”
So Jesus, as a separate being and from a separate location, identified the God that he worships is the Father in heaven. Since traditional confusion is flawed foundation for understanding the identity of God, the article’s interpretation of the Holy Spirit needs to be revised also, but that is another lengthy discussion.
2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” That means the Bible verses we have considered have to harmonize with all other Bible verses in or der to say we have the correct understanding of those verses. No contradictions.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 tells us, “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Rest assured then, that if it is God’s will that we should know the truth, we can positively identify Him himself, His Son, and the Holy Spirit, as long as we don’t get tangled up in the traditions that were added to the teachings of the Bible.
– Ken Roberts, Columbus

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