The Trinity–Some Terminology

Posted: September 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

Next month leaders from the Kachin Baptist association in Myanmar will be visiting Bethlehem Baptist Church. They will take part in a two week event known as Global Focus 2013. This is a yearly two week event that helps orient our church to what we are doing and want to continue to do cross-culturally. Taking part this year will be our Kachin brothers and sisters who have a long history of connection with Bethlehem.

While the leadership is here they will continue to  pursue a theological certificate from Bethlehem College and Seminary. For two weeks, every day for three hours, they will sit through a course on Systematic Theology (TBI’s, Theological Foundations I) I will be teaching 15 hours of this course over various topics. During a Wednesday afternoon session I will try and facilitate discussion on the doctrine of the Trinity. As I teach, I want to not only highlight how we should speak about our triune God, but also note how we should not. My hope is that students will walk away having a general idea of the Bible’s teaching of God being one, yet existing in three persons. May God bless the time and use it for his glory!

Here are some terms we will discuss in the class:

1. Adoptionism: The false teaching that Jesus lived as an ordinary man until his baptism, at which time
God “adopted” him as his “Son” and conferred on him supernatural powers; this teaching thus denies
Jesus’ preexistence and divine nature.
2. Arianism: The erroneous doctrine that denies the full deity of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
3. Economic subordination: The teaching that certain members of the Trinity have roles or functions
that are subject to the control or authority of other members.
4. Eternal begetting of the Son: Description of the eternal relationship that has existed within the
Trinity between the Father and the Son in which the Son has eternally related to the Father as a Son.
5. Modalism: The heretical teaching that holds that God is not really three distinct persons, but only one
person who appears to people in different “modes” at different times.
6. Ontological equality: A phrase that describes the members of the Trinity as eternally equal in being
or existence.
7. Trinity: The doctrine that God eternally exists as three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and
each person is fully God, and there is one God

For furthering reading on the doctrine of the Trinity, check out the following works:


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