SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER REPORT
My last lesson of July and August with Abdul Suleiman was “The importance of the Godhead” so this month of September and October we will consider the topic “The Lord our God is one” God the father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. At one glance one might say these are three gods, thus Christianity is actually polytheistic. The other extreme is to believe that the three are merely different manifestations of the one God. In other words, there is only one God, but at times He is spoken of as God the father, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. Jesus is only a manifestation of this one God and at other times God is displayed as the spirit. This avoids the dilemma of having three gods, but we run into the problem of rationalizing this doctrine with the teaching of the Bible.
The doctrine of the Godhead is a difficult idea to understand. Actually, I do not believe we can fully understand the God head, but this should not surprise us. There are many things about God that humans cannot fully comprehend. For example, humans cannot comprehend the idea of eternity, because everything in this world has a beginning and an end. However, by definition, eternity had no beginning and will have no ending. Why we may give some illustrations that may help some, all illustrations fall far short of truly describing eternity. If we could fully understand and comprehend all aspects about God, then He would no longer be God. Once we think we fully understand God, we have simply created God into an image, and He is no longer God. We do not want to worship someone or something that is no more than a man, regardless of how great he may be.
EFFORTS TO RESOLVE THIS DIFFICULTY
It should not be surprised that man has devised several doctrines which seem to solve the difficulty of the Godhead. Notice a few of the major ones. One solution is to redefine the Deity of Jesus. This idea teaches that Jesus was not divine in any sense at his conception or birth, but later he was adopted by God and elevated to the position of Deity. One could speak of Jesus as Divine because God was so strongly working in and through Jesus during His life on earth. This resolves the tension between the deity of Jesus and God; however, it rejects and over looks many passages that teach the equality between Jesus and God and the Deity of Jesus from His conception and even before His conception. Another view is one that has already been mentioned, and it presents God like an actor who plays several parts in a play.
At one time God is playing the part of God the father, at another time He plays the part of Jesus, and at another time He plays the part of spirit. Thus, God is not actually three persons but merely one person presented in three different forms. This approach preserves the unity of God; however, it ignores several passages in which all three are present simultaneously. When Jesus was baptized, God spoke from heaven and the spirit descended on Jesus like a dove (Luke 3:21-22) To whom did Jesus pray when He was on the earth? It would be silly to say Jesus prayed to Himself. When God was a fetus in the womb of Mary how could he control and preserve the universe? How could God truly be limited in knowledge as was Jesus while on earth (e.g. Mark 13:32), if He was one and the same person? Another common solution in the religious world is to redefine the relationship between the father and the son. Rather than holding that Jesus is eternal this view presents the son as merely a created being, the first and certainly highest creature, but nevertheless, Jesus is a created being and thus less than God. Some passages in the New Testament seem to support this idea. For instance John 14:28, Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19, However as with the other approaches, this view ignores many passages which teach the power and the eternal nature of Jesus as was presented in my previous lesson “Jesus is God” The New Testament passages which present the superiority of the father over His son can easily be understood as indicating Jesus’ willful emptying of the characteristics of Deity as indicated in Philippians 2:5-11 when He became flesh.
GOD IS ONE
This doctrine is taught all through the Bible. The Jews regularly quoted Deuteronomy 6:4 called the SHEMA. Jesus also quoted this verse in Mark 12:29. The very first one of the Ten Commandments states, “You shall have no other gods before me”. Isaiah spoke against idolatry on many occasions. Notice just two examples Isaiah 44:6, a similar statement is made in the next chapter Isaiah 45:5 Paul also made a comparable statement in 1 Corinthians 8:4. We learn from James 2:19 that even the demons believe there is only one God. How can three be one? That is the problem that we humans have. We cannot conceive of three different material substances being combined into one and yet still remaining three distinct substances. In the next lesson we will look further at this idea of God being one, as well as considering some analogies that might help us better understand this difficult concept.
Furthermore, the brethren here are faithful. Both personal and congregational Evangelism are been carried out. We go out every Lord’s day after worship and spend two hours preaching the gospel, this is outside my own personal Evangelism as a preacher. Since the congregation is situated in the rural area and the people are farmers, the only time we can get them around in numbers is the Lord’s day. And we are doing our best to preach to them as commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ. Mark 16:15-16, 2 Timothy 4:2. The new convert is doing well in the young convert’s class been regular in fellowship. The world Bible school representatives in Rivers State had Evangelism in ABUA ODUAL otherwise known as ABUA CENTRAL last month though we did not record any baptism. THE WBS REPRESENTATIVES IN RIVERS STATE movement to ABUA ODUAL was based on invitation from church of Christ AZUBIE TOWN which planted a congregation there. There has been no Lord’s church in ABUA ODUAL. The people are receptive and we are planning to go there again. Pray for the young convert, Abdul Suleiman and the brethren here as the Lord is in control. Our prayers are with you too.
God bless you Amen.