Our Beliefs: 2. One God
Posted on 11/27/2016 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)
*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***
Public Prayer Requests:
For Chris: He's in the final stages of renal failure and will need to begin dialysis soon unless God performs a miracle. He's in his 70s and not in the best of health, it's going to be very stressful for him. He may not be eligible for transplant.
For Amy. She's a Kindergarten teacher in a VERY small town. The funding for the program she teaches under has been cut and as of Jan. she will be unemployed. She needs to find work, fast, preferably teaching. She gives 125% to her students so would be a shame for her not to teach
Please click one of the offering plates in Second Life or at http://almcyberchurch.org, and give as the Lord leads.
EVEN THE MOUNTAINS
We praise you Lord because you're worthy
You are Lord and King of the earth and sky
Let us lift you up and declare your glory
Let us lift our hands and our voices high
Even the mountains praise your name
the rocks and the stones cry Holy!
Whoever seeks for your face
will never be the same
Let your kingdom come
in Jesus' name
I'm an instrument, I am only a vessel
Help me open up to receive your love
Let us put to death thoughts of opposition
Let me step aside and point the world to above
SHOUT TO THE LORD
My Jesus, My Savior
Lord there is none like You
All of my days, I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love
My Comfort, My Shelter
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You
Shout to the Lord, all the earth
Let us sing.
Power and majesty,
praise to the King.
Mountains bow down and
the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name
I sing for joy
at the work of Your hands
Forever I'll love you,
forever I'll stand
Nothing compares to
the promise I have in You!
SOMETHING ABOUT THAT NAME
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
There's just something about that name
Master, Saviour, Jesus
Like the fragrance after the rain
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Let all Heaven and Earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms
Will all pass away
But there's something
about that Name.
NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES
Jesus, name above all names
Beautiful Savior, glorious Lord.
Emmanuel, God is with us.
Blessed Redeemer, Living word.
*** Choose your connection speed and listen to the audio to hear the introduction. ***
Last week, we started what I have intended to be a short series going through our statement of beliefs.
You can find these statements on the website at almcyberchurch.org. Just click the "What We Believe" link. Or, here in Second Life, you can click one of the three stone pillars with the sign on top that says "Church Information," and the statement of beliefs is embedded in the note card you'll receive.
And as we did last week, I'd like to start by reading the conclusion at the bottom of that document:
These are just a few of our conclusions concerning some of the popular points of the Christian faith. We do not believe in our conclusions, nor do we rely on our doctrines or beliefs to save us or connect us with God.
Christians have always had diversity in their theology and will continue to do so until our minds are healed and returned to their pre-sin roles as tools rather than dictators and gods.
And we step back and see the mind and all other temporary forms for what they are, as we return to the one central tenant that frees us from worshiping any form:
Be Fully Present Now.
Okay. So the point here is that we cannot trust our own understanding to lead us into all truth.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (TLS*) says,
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not dwell in or rely upon your own understanding.
6 Know Him in all things, and He will direct your paths, making them plain and straight.
We trust in, dwell in, rely upon, our own understanding. We trust our beliefs, those things our minds have concluded that we are certain will ensure we escape torment in hell. But we are told in this passage in Proverbs that we should NOT trust in or rely upon our own understanding.
GOD is the one who saves you, redeems you, guides you, delivers you, and holds your life in His hand. NOT your mind. NOT your understanding. NOT your beliefs. But HIM, and HIM ALONE.
And observe when the mind gets puffed up by its own pride, and creates a divide between you and some other person or group, because THEY don't know the truth like YOU do. You could be right, or
THEY could be right.
EIther way, you cannot trust in your rightness to save you and to lead you into Truth. That's God's job, and He's the only One who is qualified for it.
And so, we do what we believe is the right thing to do right now, and we step back, release control of it to God, and we Be Fully Present Now. Resting in His Presence and in His Peace. That is, after all, what it really means to be Alive.
Okay. So let's dive into reading the second item in the list.
2. One God
One God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and timeless. He is expressed to us in the three persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This is pretty basic, and just about any Christian would agree with it. But I DO mean "just about" any Christian. And here's what I mean:
Trinitarians have pointed out that those who teach oneness often use words such as "God MANIFESTS Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." So when we say "He is expressed to us in the three persons," the door is opened for debate. And a heated debate at that.
So just to jump to the chase, I am not promoting either the doctrine of trinity OR oneness. What I WILL promote is the fact that we see through a glass dimly, and to make an enemy out of a person or group because their minds do not mentally grasp God the same way OUR mind does, is badly misplaced pride.
Many go as far as to say that the people in the "other camp" aren't even really saved, because they worship a different god, a false god.
But is worshiping a mental idea of God not in itself a form of idolotry? I personally choose to not worship a mental image of God that my mind has embraced.
We can argue verses, and how God is described in our human language, and we can go away from the debate either frustrated with the other's level of deception, or satisfied that we destroyed their falsehood with our superior mental reasoning.
When researching the disagreements, I found a number of videos on the subject. Most of them were two or three hours long. I watched one that was about 30 minutes, and read a medium-sized article, and both sides believed the OTHER side was in danger of going to hell because they don't understand the truth.
One of the videos I found was a song titled "Trinity Schminity." In the chorus are the words, "Trinity schminity, don't believe the lie. 'Cause if you do, your soul will surely die. If you do, your soul will surely fry."
It's a very catchy song, but so is a song I heard years ago in which the devil is boasting about himself. The latter was conscious pride, while the former comes from a place of pride that is hidden from the minds that possess it.
And there are groups of Christians who would condemn the artists, even claiming they were going to hell, because the musical genre is rock-and-roll complete with drums and electric guitars.
No matter what you do or don't do, or what you believe or don't believe, if you ask enough people, they will give you very compelling reasons why you're gong to hell for it, quoting Scriptures and reciting convincing logic.
Those who embrace oneness tend to think the trinitarians believe in three gods, while those who believe in orthodox trinitarianist tend to think the apostolics cannot hold on to that doctrine and really be saved.
But as I waded through the debate, I confirmed what I had previously concluded: in their essence, when all the human language is stripped away and the meanings to which those words point is considered, both viewpoints basically are the same.
In one article, I found the following summary of the doctrine of the trinity:
"The doctrine of the Trinity is that the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, and together these 'three Persons' make one God; and these three are co-equal and co-eternal."
In another article, I found this summary of the oneness doctrine:
"There is only one God. He is the creator of heaven and earth, and of all living beings. He has revealed Himself to humanity as the Father, in the son, and as the Holy Ghost."
And in yet another one, I found this comparison of the two:
"Most Pentecostals believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, in which there is one God who is eternally existent in three forms, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. While they acknowledge this to be a mystery, they maintain that God is one in essence, manifested in three forms.
"Apostolic Pentecostals deny the historic doctrine of the Trinity. In their view, God is one in every sense of the word. They further believe that there is no difference whatsoever between the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, believing that each is simply a manifestation of Jesus. For this reason, Apostolic Pentecostals are often referred to as Oneness Pentecostals."
Interestingly, many who hold to the oneness doctrine also call it "Jesus Only." They state that Jesus manifests as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, while trinitarians state that the One God is comprised of the persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The rest of the debate is mostly linguistic details.
The reason I said it's interesting they call it "Jesus Only," is because that centers around the name "Jesus." Which actually was not the Messiah's name; and there are yet other groups who claim those who call upon the name of "Jesus" are calling upon a false god, since His name is Yeshuah, or Yahushua, depending on their line of study.
Such reliance upon our own understanding. Trusting our human language and our human minds to determine whether we can know God, and trusting our minds to save us from eternal damnation.
So to wrap this up:
Just like both supposedly opposing views, we believe there is One God, who is in the persons, or manifestations, of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. How God does it, our minds cannot understand, for His ways are above our ways, and His thoughts are above our thoughts, and our human minds are incapable of grasping the depth of His Being.
As Isaiah 55:9 (KMV*) says,
9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."
So today, I invite you to stop relying on your mental knowledge ABOUT God, and instead, KNOW GOD like you know the soul of a beloved other, or the fragrance of a rose, or the splendor of a glorious sunset.
Put your trust completely in Him, not in your understanding of Him. And as you walk in full surrender to the I Am who reveals Himself to us everywhere and in every present moment, you just might experience Him first hand.
In the words of Shakespeare, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
Delight in His Presence.
Bask in His Beauty.
Walk in His Glory.
And Dwell in the Splendor of the One True God.