Guy Harrison’s misunderstanding of the Trinity

50 Questions

Guy Harrison’s objection of the nature of the Trinity is based on a misunderstanding.

Jesus, Son of God:ManHe writes, ‘God is Jesus and Jesus is God. How can we say that God sent His Son and sacrificed Him for us when they are the same being? 1 These words show that Guy’s theology about the Trinity is deficient.

The following 2 principles explain the true nature of the Trinity according to the Bible (as recognised by reputable theologians):

 

#Principle 1. God is one in essence, three in Person. That means God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are three distinct Persons. Yet they all share in the God attributes. The Trinity can be compared to a family of a father, mother and son. One doesn’t find it often, but there are families where the father, mother and son function as one. They have the same purpose, the same interests and the same loyalty. Yet they are three distinct persons with distinct functions. That gives one an idea of what the Trinity is like.

  • God the Father is in heaven. He is the head of the Trinity. He planned the Kingdom (the eternal King, people and country). That is why Jesus said that the Father is greater than He.
  • Jesus is the Son, looking for a Bride. He made the Kingdom possible. He finished his assignment on earth and sits at the right hand of His Father in His resurrected body.
  • The Holy Spirit fulfils the functions of the mother: birthing, caring, comforting, helping, guiding,  teaching, et cetera. After Jesus went back to His Father, the Holy Spirit was sent to earth. He indwells believers and prepares and trains them for the coming eternal Kingdom.

The following verse is an example of the Trinity as three distinct persons with different functions: ‘To God’s elect, strangers in the world, …who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by His blood.’ 2

 

#Principle 2. Jesus is one in Person, 2 in nature. He is both God and Man (the Son of God and the Son of man). If people object to that, ask them how the DNA can be both material (the carbohydrate phosphate backbone) and immaterial (the information in the nucleotides)? Why is Jesus one in person, two in nature?  He had to be the innocent Lamb of God to die in the place of His Bride. Only God is innocent, thus God the Son became a human being (the Son of Man) to die for human beings only. The angels who rebelled are not included since they saw God and yet rebelled. We have not seen God physically, so we are given a chance of salvation, while they are not pardoned.

 

If people object that the doctrine of the Trinity and of the twofold nature of Jesus doesn’t make sense, ask them how logical it is that first life evolved from non-living elements? There is no evidence for it and yet they believe it. What we do know, however, is that it cannot be too difficult for God who created the miracle of life, to be Three that function as One, and to be fully man and fully God like Jesus.

 

References

  1. Kindle Edition, Location 170 of 5739
  2. 1 Peter 1:1-2

 

Guy Harrison and the kingdom

50 Questions

In a former blog we mentioned that the ‘short’ Gospel Guy Harrison refers to is deficient.

No Jesus, Kingdom a ruinWe cannot understand Jesus’ work on earth in isolation from the Kingdom. Jesus and others preached consistently about the Kingdom of God. In Genesis 1 we read that God created the heavens and the earth. He is the Owner and Ruler of the universe and He plans an eternal Kingdom of peace and happiness.

 

A kingdom consists of a king, citizens and a country. God is planning a perfect country or Kingdom (the key word to remember for God’s Kingdom is ‘Peace’). He will be the King who loves His people and they will love and obey Him. There will be no crime, disease, or any problems whatsoever. The easiest way to understand it is to envision a country like that. The leader is perfect with no flaws. The citizens all love the leader and obey the laws of the country. It sounds like the place to be.

 

Another way to understand God’s kingdom is to think what would make your neighbourhood peaceful and safe? All criminals will have to be jailed to eradicate theft, murder, alcohol abuse, lying, cheating, gossip, et cetera. That is precisely what God will do. He will allow no-one into His kingdom who will disturb the peace and happiness. So He tests us in this life. God observes and writes down what we do. If we love and obey Him here, we will do it there (on the renewed earth).

 

For God’s eternal planet of peace, He wants the same attitude in His people that the Trinity have towards each other (happiness, contentment, peace and love). God’s commands all have to do with love, peace, harmony, forgiveness, et cetera. Obedient citizens will be very important because God is the all knowing, holy Ruler with no skeletons in His cupboard. Yet on this side of the grave, people consistently fail to obey God’s laws of peace and love. The whole Old Testament is essentially a history of how men failed to obey God (it is called sin).

 

This makes the eternal Kingdom of peace that God plans impossible. All people have a ‘criminal record’ of disobedience and therefore cannot be part of God’s kingdom. No country accepts immigrants with criminal records and neither does God. How did God handle this problem that people consistently fail? He sent His Son Jesus to fulfil God’s decree that, ‘the wages of sin is death.’ On the Cross Jesus died for our sins. So:

  • We can have our criminal record annulled by His blood shed on the cross.
  • He also circumcises our hearts (cuts out the bad nature) so that we can obey God.
  • He brings us back into a good relationship with the Father.
  • He gives us the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us.
  • He prepares us to live eternally with God on the renewed earth, loving our Lord and serving Him.

 

As we can see, Jesus did not only ‘save from sins.’  He did much more in preparation for the eternal Kingdom. Salvation is a kind of ‘subset’ of God’s message. It is a very important aspect, so important that without it, there can be no Kingdom.But it is still only a part of Jesus’ much bigger work described in the 66 books of the Bible. The lesson: don’t believe Guy and minimise Jesus’ work.

Guy Harrison’s theology

In the first chapter of his book, 50 Simple Questions for Every Christian,

50 Questions

Kingdom of GodGuy Harrison discusses the essence of the Christian belief. He asks, Does Christianity make sense? The following is his summary of what Christians believe: ‘God sent His Son, Jesus into the world so that He could die for us. His sacrifice was a pardon from our sins that allows us to be saved from death and enjoy eternal life in heaven. Without Jesus we would all be doomed because of our inherently sinful nature. In this great act of mercy, God saved us from ourselves. And all we have to do in return to accept this gift is to repent our sins and embrace Jesus as our only lord and saviour.1

 

His summary is accurate, but is this ‘abridged’ version the complete gospel? Can we only acknowledge the basic principles that Jesus saves from sin, people are inherently sinful, et cetera? Why does he give no attention to the Bible’s main message of the Kingdom? God’s kingdom will consist of Him as the Ruler, the elect as the citizens and the renewed earth as the country. This is where God is heading to. At present He is gathering the citizens.

 

Matthew, Mark and Luke teach about the forgiveness of sins, but the Kingdom of God is mentioned many more times.

  • John the Baptist preached: ‘Repent for the Kingdom of God is near.’ 2
  • Jesus preached, ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.’ 3 NB! The expression, Kingdom of Heaven is synonymous with Kingdom of God. In the rest of the book of Matthew, we find the word ‘Kingdom’ many times.
  • Mark says that Jesus began by preaching the good news, ‘The time has come…. The Kingdom is near. Repent and believe the good news.’ 4
  • In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus said, ‘I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’ 5  Jesus was specifically sent to establish His Kingdom. 
  • The apostle Paul, a prisoner in Rome, also preached about the Kingdom, ‘Boldly and without hindrance he preached the Kingdom of God – and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.’ 6 

 

To summarise 

Jesus was sent to establish His Kingdom and open the way for people to become part of it. Salvation is the entrance into the kingdom, but it is not the whole gospel. From Genesis to Revelation the Bible deals with different aspects of the Kingdom. If you limit the many functions of Jesus to salvation from sins, you are in a sense taking away from the glory that is due to Him. Salvation fits into the wider context of the Kingdom.

 

Conclusion

We are of the opinion that the version of the Gospel that Guy presents is not the core of the Bible. The Bible reveals God’s plan for the establishment of His Kingdom on earth. That cannot be done without Jesus, because the Old Testament demonstrates that people cannot obey God. Yet obedience is necessary to make the Kingdom of peace a success. Jesus makes it possible for those who accepted His offer to become obedient. He changes hearts, gives the Holy Spirit, and much more. The Kingdom of God is the main message.  Disregarding it leads to a disjointed, illogical understanding of the Bible.

 

References

  1. Kindle Edition, Location 168 of 5739
  2. Matthew 3:2
  3. Matthew 4:17
  4. Mark 1:15
  5. Luke 4:43
  6. Acts 28:31