I just had a cool conversation with my littler sister Heather that got my mind stirring. Well, actually she was interviewing me for a class at seminary and, as usual, I did most of the talking, but my mind was stimulated anyway. So I pulled off the road (I was driving), grabbed some chicken strips with Ranch dressing, grabbed by Bluetooth keyboard and started typing away.
The topic was the Trinity of God and how I saw it displayed in my church and how it affects my life. Easy topic, eh? The answer to the first question was simple: I don’t see the “Triune God” (a better name for Trinity) preached very often at my church. Or, come to think of it, at any other Bible church. Why? Well, I don’t think it is ignorance as much as avoidance.Most pastors have been taught at some point in their lives about the triune nature of God. But just because they’re taught it doesn’t mean they “get it.” Honestly, I think a lot of church leaders are confused about the nature of God and, as a result, they avoid preaching on it. Why confuse people with this three persons/one God paradigm when we can generalize “God” and focus on Jesus? It’s better to ignore the fuzzy in favor of the fantastic. (What about teaching about the Holy Spirit? Too controversial. People might think we’re charismatic or something.)
I belabor the point. I’ve seen a disturbing trend among evangelical pastors to avoid the mysteries of God in favor of a few absolutes. They won’t tackle tough subjects like God and government, holy communion, baptism, or church discipline. They’ll talk about grace (and rightly so) but not about obedience. That whole thing about the church being built on Peter… we’ll gloss over it or spiritualize it or allegorize it and move on quickly to the next paragraph.
Some pastors are afraid of offending, even if Scripture is clear on a subject. Tackling the fuzzy subjects? Forget it. We’ll read straight through a tough verse and then start exegeting the next one.
The subject of the triune God is one of the fuzzy areas of theology to many pastors. The more I study the Scripture, the clearer the subject becomes to me. It still defies logic but I can at least explain it better now than when I was young. Maybe the failure to understand tough subjects lies in a failure of church leaders to study the Scriptures. I don’t know. Maybe the avoidance of the fuzzy also comes with a lack of confidence in the Scriptures. Maybe it comes from an inability to take Scripture at face value. Again, I’m just speculating here.
Maybe the bottom line is this, dear pastors — when a theological fly ball is hit to you in right field, don’t look for the center fielder to call you off and make the catch. Call for it, lift your glove and play it. You might miss. But at least you tried.
— A fellow minister