Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Doctrine Of The Trinity

The doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most important beliefs of Christianity. It is central to the Christian understanding of God. This doctrine is held by the large majority of Christianity.

An Explanation of the Trinity

“The doctrine of the Trinity is the belief that there is only one living and true God. Yet, the one God is three distinct Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. These three have distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. They enjoy eternal communion and are coeternal and coequal.” -Dr. Bill Gordon, NAMB

“This word [Trinity] does not appear in the Bible. But it is clear that the one God reveals himself as Father, Son, and Spirit (Matthew 28:19). It is a revealed doctrine, not one arrived at by human reasoning. Yet it submits itself to reason.”
-Dr. Herschel H. Hobbs, A Layman’s Handbook of Christian Doctrine, Broadman Press, Nashville; 1974.

Some misunderstand and say Christians believe in three Gods; they do not. The Bible makes it plain that God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29; 1 Timothy 2:5), yet He is revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. No one can fully understand the details of the Trinity, but it is taught and revealed in Scripture. Besides, if a lowly human could understand all about God, He would not be God after all. God’s being and understanding are far beyond our understanding.

Scriptural Evidence for the Trinity (there is much more than what is listed here)

While the Bible does not use the term Trinity, it teaches the concept of the Trinity. (Neither does the Bible use other oft used Christian terms: missionary, evangelism, etc.)
1. Obviously, God the Father is God. Psalm 89:26; 1 Peter 1:2, 17; Romans 8:15.
2. Jesus, God the Son, is God. Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1; 20:28; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8 (Psalm 45:6-7); 2 Peter 1:1.
3. The Holy Spirit is God. Acts 5:3-4. The Bible gives characteristics to the Holy Spirit that only apply to God. Psalm 139:7-13; Luke 1:35; Romans 15:19; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Hebrews 9:14.

The Bible describes the Father, Son, and Holy Sprit as distinct Persons.

Several passages speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the same context. Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; 1 Corinthians 12:4- 6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6; Titus 3:4-6.
 
Illustrations have been used to partially explain or represent the triune nature of God. While none are perfect, perhaps they can give you a hint of the Trinity:
A three leaf clover - it is one, yet three.
A man - he can be a son, a husband, a father.
Water - can be solid (ice), liquid (water), steam (vapor).

God
"There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being."
-Baptist Faith and Message, 2000, the doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention; full statement can be found at sbc.net.

“God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!”
-Christian hymn Holy, Holy, Holy by Reginald Heber, Baptist Hymnal, 2008, LifeWay, Nashville, TN. Also in many other hymnals.

“Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” -Matthew 28:19

For more information: Jesus Christ is God, and Fights I Didn’t Start and Some I Did (volume 1; great chapter on the deity of Jesus) by R. L. Sumner; biblicalevangelist.org.
 
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, February 25, AD 2015.

More articles in lower right margin. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Wine for Your Stomach's Sake; 1 Timothy 5:23

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities. -1 Timothy 5:23
 

This Bible verse has often been misused to justify the recreational use of a mind altering drug (alcohol).

Evangelist Sam Jones told of a man asked by a friend to take a drink. The friend said, “Didn’t Paul tell Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach’s sake?’
The man replied, “Yes, but my name is not Timothy; and even if it were, there’s nothing the matter with my stomach.”

A closer look at 1 Timothy 5:23 reveals no evidence for social or moderate drinking.

First, the wine referred to could have either been fermented or unfermented. The Bible and ancient writings often refer to unfermented wine by the name wine (Isaiah 65:8; Matthew 9:17; etc.).
Modern English translations do so as well.
Ancients knew and practiced multiple ways of preserving unfermented wine. It was available throughout the year. See “Ancient Wine and the Bible” for detailed explanation and documentation of this fact.

Unfermented wine or grape juice has the same, if not more, healthy properties as alcoholic wine; without the harmful side effects.

Health benefits of unfermented wine (grape juice):
1. Contains beneficial antioxidants.
2. Helps protect cardiovascular health.
3. Encourages flexible arteries.
4. Contributes to healthy blood pressure.
-gleaned from Welchs website; 2009, www.welchs.com.
(But watch out for grape juice with “added” sugar.)

“Older men and women who drank fruit and vegetable juices more than three times a week were 76 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who drank juices less than once a week, a new study shows.” -alzinfo.org; 2006.

“Alcohol is not actually heart-healthy…Red wine contains some beneficial compounds such as flavonoids and resveratrol, a potent antioxidant in the skin of grapes associated with a number of health benefits. Of course, grapes, raisins, berries, and other plant foods also contain these beneficial compounds. You do not have to drink wine to gain these benefits.” -Joel Fuhrman, M.D., The End of Diabetes; 2013.

However, even if Paul was recommending alcoholic wine:
1. He only said a little wine.
2. Strictly for medicinal purposes.
At most, this is only justifying a little alcohol for medicinal reasons. In addition, today there are usually more effective medicinal drugs than alcohol. 
3. It is also interesting that as a pastor, Timothy, for good reason, had been abstaining from wine.

Stomach health note: If you have stomach problems, many authorities have recognized several things that may help: 1. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits. 2. Drink plenty of water. 3. The live culture in yogurt can be helpful. 4. The live culture in un-pasteurized Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar can be helpful. Incidentally, even vinegar is called wine (sour wine) in the Bible. 5. A pinch of baking soda mixed in water can settle an acidic stomach. (But, see a trusted M.D. for proper medical advice!)

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, February 9, AD 2015.

Deuteronomy 14:26 - Does it Commend Alcohol?
Preserving Unfermented Wine in Bible Times
Wit & Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow, the book
Dr. R. L. Sumner on "Ancient Wine and the Bible"

Many more articles in lower right margin.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Resources - Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention Sunday; March 15, 2015

Alcohol & Substance Abuse Prevention Sunday is the third Sunday of March each year. This year it will be March 15, 2015. Youth and adults need to be warned to stay away from recreational drugs. Please use this opportunity to do so in your church, Sunday School, and Bible Study classes. You may also want to use good quotes, like the one below, in your church bulletin or newsletter. 

Resources:
“Ancient Wine and the Bible: The Case for Abstinence” by David R. Brumbelow
“Alcohol Today: Abstinence in an Age of Indulgence” by Peter Lumpkins
Can be ordered at any bookstore.

American Council on Alcohol Problems (ACAP)
sapacap.com

Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)
wctu.org

Alcohol And Drug Abuse Prevention Sunday - Free Resources

Note: Some observe this emphasis at other times, such as the month of April. Whatever the date, get good information warning about drug use to others.

“The upcoming generations need to know the havoc brought on our society and upon individuals by the use of alcohol. If we use it ourselves, we recommend its use to others. A Christian should not exercise his freedom to put himself and others at such a risk.” -Judge Paul Pressler (quoted in Ancient Wine and the Bible)

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, February 3, AD 2015.

Other Articles (Labels) and Resources in lower right margin.