Hello everyone. The Deeper Waters blogger is back. I ask that you pray for me as I’m continuing to learn more of the lessons of life I need to know and I had a few curve balls thrown my way today. Oh well. It’s just a chance for me to grow more to be like Christ I suppose. At least, that’s the way I try to see these situations. I ask for your continued prayers in the areas that I have spoken on. I also hope that you all got to have a happy Thanksgiving. I know I certainly did. For now, let us go to the text. Tonight, we’ll be looking at James 2:19.
19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
The book begins with addressing the twelve tribes and it’s a verse like this that leads me to believe further that James is writing to an audience largely consisting of Jews. If there was any group in the world that was known for believing in one God, it was the Jews. The pagans all had several deities in their pantheon.
It was the Jews who affirmed there is but one God. Hear O Israel. The Lord your God is one. Every Jew knew that. It was the Shema. They were to recite it twice a day. It was an identifying pledge of theirs. It also became foundational in the formation of the doctrine of the Trinity.
Many critics of the doctrine of the Trinity insist that it is a polytheistic doctrine. I have recently heard a clip of Muslims speaking in Speakers’ Square in London. Speakers’ Square is a sort of public debate site in London where people of different religions can come and debate. The Mormons were speaking about the doctrine of the Trinity and saying that Christians believe in three gods.
As a Trinitarian, I immediately start pondering how badly they’re representing my doctrine. Now if I did believe in three gods, I would have a problem, but it seems that those who speak out most against the doctrine of the Trinity are those who have taken the least time to understand it by really reading great Christian minds on the topic.
If you look at the great creeds of the church, all of them affirm monotheism. We are not polytheists. Now does that mean we fully understand how one God can dwell in three persons? No. It doesn’t. However, it does no good to say that because we do not understand it, that that is not what we believe then.
Which is why this verse has been chosen for our Trinitarian commentary. If we do not have monotheism, we do not have the Trinity. The very words Trinity means “Three in one.” Throughout the New Testament, one finds the constant affirmation on there being one God, but also the affirmation that Jesus is fully God and the Spirit is fully God along with the Father, but these three are one.
While we do not fully comprehend, we must be clear also that this is what we believe. Our opponents would do well to recognize that.
We shall continue tomorrow.