EFCA Theology Conference 2014 Pre-Conference

The pre-conference at this years EFCA Theology Conference is on the doctrine of the Trinity and is done by Dr. Fred Sanders from Biola. Here are the first two lectures and links to the Prezi slides that were used.

Approaching the Doctrine of the Trinity

The Trinity-try to understand it and you’ll lose your mind, try to deny it and you’ll lose your soul.

  1. Teaching the Trinity as an inviting doctrine

The word of the Trinity is not far away, you don’t need to get advanced degrees to understand.

Trinity is primarily for categorization and building up the understanding of believers.

  1. The basic component of the doctrine

One being in three persons, we don’t say God is one person and three persons, or God is one person and three persons

  1. Three key texts

Trinity is not in the Old Testament because the OT was a time of promise, we don’t find the doctrine of the Trinity revealed in the OT, but we see shadows of it. Then the New Testament is the time of fulfillment, the Messiah and the Spirit already came. The revelation of the Trinity is in the events of the Father sending the Son and the Spirit.

  1. John 1:1-3 – takes you from the beginning of the Gospel to the beginning of the whole Bible. What we have in Jesus Christ shows us what happened before creation, which leaves us with God.
  2. Matt 28:18-20 – doctrine of the Trinity is in Scripture, even if the word itself is not. Trinity just means “threeness”
  3. 2 Cor 13:14 – the revealed character of these three persons (see also 1 John “our fellowship is with the Fathe rand the Son”

Overall idea: salvation is by & from & in & with the Triune God

  1. Heresies to avoid
    1. Tritheism – three gods (kind of Mormonism)
    2. Modalism – 1 god doing 3 things, manifests himself in 3 ways (oneness Pentecostalism)
    3. Subordinationism – 1 real god, a couple lesser gods (Arianism, Jehovah’s witness)
    4. Illustrations
      1. There’s nothing like God or God’s trinity
      2. Most illustrations are a little helpful, but mostly just show Trinitarian heresies
      3. The main things are the plain things: God the Father saved us by sending the Son and the Spirit.

The Trinity is not a distraction from the gospel, but a super-condensed explanation of it.


The Deep Things of God 

  1. Grace as God’s gift of himself

Grace as free forgiveness, grace as power for service (John 3:16, Gal 4:4-6, Eph 1:3-14)

  1. The two hands of God

The incarnation and atonement are the means to the end of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

  1. The economy of salvation

God gives himself as the gift of salvation

  1. The happy land of the Trinity
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