Update: Redemption Church removed the heretical statement concerning the parts of God. I am glad for their willingness to receive correction.
Once upon a time, a man’s house was on fire. Every room was burning. The roof was about to cave in. The inferno raged all around. The fire department showed up.
“Oh. I see the problem. Your bookcase is on fire”.
“Well”, he answered. “It certainly is on fire. But that isn’t exactly the problem.”
“Let’s just put that fire out and then we can talk about the rest of it”.
So they put the bookcase out. Part of the roof caved in. The fire caught the trees outside.
The firefighter said, “Oh. Look at that. Your dresser is on fire!”
The propane tank outside exploded. The firefighters put the dresser out.
This silly example describes the state of our church. The Southern Baptists have been discussing social issues this week. Justice is a crucial calling of the church. But the conservatives were fighting hard to make sure that any hint of injustice stay buried.
The moderates fought hard to bring social justice to the front. Meanwhile, the whole house is burning down.
We are all very aware of where Ed Litton stands on every cultural issue. But he doesn’t understand who God is, and that didn’t even blip on anyone’s radar.
While the church across the country is fighting for whatever social cause comes up, or whatever cultural war they deem important, we have missed the whole point of it all, and the house is in embers.
Jesus said that eternal life is “that we might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
The reason that Jesus came into the world was to restore fellowship between God and man, that we might turn from our idols and know that only true God as he has revealed himself in his word.
But that has not become the supreme goal of the modern church. A faithful minister might preach faithfully about who God is and who Jesus is and still arouse the anger of his church if he is on the perceived “wrong side” of the culture wars.
It is as if Jesus came, not to reconcile us to God, but to support our political causes.
Take, for example, this statement from Redeemer Church in Mobile, Alabama. Their pastor was just elected president of the SBC.
“God is One, the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three persons: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal parts of one God”
There are only two scenarios. One is that whoever wrote this knows nothing about theology, or who God is. Or two, they just don’t care, and have a “good enough” view when it comes to doctrine.
God has no parts. If God had parts, then someone or something outside of God would have had to have put him together. In which case God is not God. This is the doctrine known as “the simplicity of God.” God is not composed. IT MATTERS.
This is theology 101. It matters. It is eternal life.
This definition of God is NOT Christianity. It is a denial of the Trinity.
We spend so much time on our social pet peeves, that we have forgotten the point of it all. That we might know God.
When you are searching for a church, if “part” is used anywhere to describe God, keep searching. Either they are outright heretics, or have decided that it doesn’t matter.
Here is my point. This statement of faith made it past the review committee, it was most likely written by a pastor. And no one cried foul and changed it. The house burned down while we were debating the fire on the bookshelves and the dressers.
Would these statements have made the final cut?
We believe that a woman has the right to choose.
We believe that nothing makes God happier than when two people – ANY two people – fall in love.
We believe that the police should be defunded.
We believe that every Christian ought to vote Republican.
We believe that every Christian ought to vote democratic.
If you now wish to debate me on any of those statements, then you are proving my point. We have become very good at putting out the fire on the bookcases and the dressers when the whole house is collapsing around us.
Everyone who has paid attention at all knows what is wrong or what is right with all of these statements. The “Church” has made their thinking on it quite clear.
Meanwhile, the house is burning down. To divide God into parts is to take his great name in vain. It is to deny God, to blaspheme his holy name and to become pagan in your thinking.
The church used to profess this: “No sin is greater or more provoking to God than the taking of his name in vain.” (Heidelberg Catechism 100).
According to this truth and this Word of God, we believe in one only God, who is the one single essence, in which are three Persons, really, truly, and eternally distinct according to their incommunicable properties; namely, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The Father is the cause, origin, and beginning of all things visible and invisible;
the Son is the word, wisdom, and the image of the Father;
the Holy Spirit is the eternal power and might, proceeding from the Father and the Son.
Nevertheless, God is not by this distinction divided into three, since the Holy Scriptures teach us that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit have each His personality, distinguished by Their properties; but in such wise that these three Persons are but one only God.
Hence, then, it is evident that the Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father, and likewise the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son.
Nevertheless, these Persons thus distinguished are not divided, nor intermixed; for the Father has not assumed the flesh, nor has the Holy Spirit, but the Son only.
The Father has never been without His Son, or without His Holy Spirit. For They are all three co-eternal and co-essential. There is neither first nor last; for They are all three one, in truth, in power, in goodness, and in mercy. (Belgic Confession, Article 8)
But today, who God is doesn’t matter. What words you use for him don’t matter. As long as you get behind my social cause; vote the right way. After all, theology is all speculation. What is really important is winning the culture war.
It has destroyed churches, it has torn the house down.
The house is on fire. Wake up, people.