Trinitarianism and Christology are Pastoral Issues

Speaking of the Trinity and the Person of Christ as fully God and fully man are not just concerns in a systematic theology class; they are pastoral issues.

We do not have the option of avoiding these complex mysteries if we are to faithfully speak of the Christian God from the Christian Scriptures in the local Christian Church. Never is this more evident than at Christmastime, when we are (hopefully) trying to do more than simply rehash a few sentimental holiday images. Hopefully, we are attempting to draw attention to the weight and the wonder of the Incarnation, that God became a man to save his own rebellious creatures. This is the great mystery that angels long to look into, and on which the Gospel of our salvation is built. These are the truths that move the church to worship. But speaking of the birth of Christ will never create the awe in the human soul as they are designed to do, unless we are willing to dig into the doctrines of Trinity and Christology. We must carefully communicate that the infant in Bethlehem is nothing less than God the Son, the eternal Word made flesh, co-equal with the Father in power, glory, and honor. We must clearly explain that Jesus is not simply the greatest of all of God’s creatures, but that “there never was a time when he was not,” and that his birth is the fulfillment of a perfect plan of grace established in eternity. We must insist that it was “in the fullness of time” that “God sent his Son, born of woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law.” (Gal 4:4-5)

And as we insist on these things, questions will arise – questions that were asked at Jerusalem and Nicea and Constantinople, straight through the history of the church, about how these things can be so. Now, we won’t be able to completely explain the deepest mysteries of the Trinity, but we should be able to point to the pertinent texts of Scripture we have wrestled through ourselves, to some of the great hymns of the church, and even some of the ancient creeds we have confessed.

This Sunday night, we are going to have a look at the Nicene Creed together. None of us will leave as experts, in theology or church history. But we will leaveĀ having been reminded of the great mystery of godliness; that Mary’s child is “God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God.” And hopefully, we will be moved to worship.


About Eric Smith

Sinner saved by the grace of Jesus, husband of Candace, father of Coleman and Crockett, West Tennessean, pastor of Sharon Baptist Church, student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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