Changing Course by Bob Wickizer

Changing Course
Bob Wickizer
Isaiah 56:1,6-8; Psalm 67; Romans 11:1-2a,29-32; Matthew 15:10-28

We have been blessed to receive almost two dozen newcomers this year at Grace. I hope we will continue this good work welcoming and incorporating new people into the life and ministry of this church. But I want to share a recent encounter I had to help you understand what a community of faith does for one another. (in a positive way)

Joan and I were invited to a newcomer's house for dinner. We have done this dozens, maybe a hundred times over the years. We enjoy sharing a meal with parishioners. This time the conversation turned quickly to serious questions. First came questions about the situation of the ancient Christian sect trapped on a mountaintop by Islamic militants. Then came the theological lightning bolt - ''So what do you think about the Trinity?'' she asked.

I have entertained a lot of questions at the dinner table, but never before have I been asked point blank questions about the Trinity. She continued, ''What does the Trinity mean?'' she asked. ''How does it make a difference in our faith?'' My mind quickly raced to a spreadsheet I had created in seminary of all the Trinitarian heresies. ''I can tell you some things that the Trinity is not such as: Sabellianism - that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three aspects of one God; Modalism - three different modes of the godhead; Tritheism - three different divine beings; Arianism - Christ was fully human and not fully divine; Docetism - Jesus just had the appearance of a human; Adoptionism - Jesus was born only human and was later adopted by God at his baptism or resurrection; and many more.''

This was clearly not what she was looking for. She pressed again with ''But what does the Trinity really mean?'' After a long week, I was unprepared for a seminary level question from a very intelligent and earnest person. I told her that her question deserved a more honest and thoughtful reply than I could m ...

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