By Bishop Kenneth Myers
I sat across the table from the young man discussing who Jesus is. He kept telling me there was no way Jesus was God himself. That could not be possible. Jesus was a man filled with the Holy Spirit. He was the Son of God. He was a prophet. He was our savior. But I shouldn’t even try to convince him that Jesus was GOD.
I know what you are thinking: I was chatting with a Mormon. Maybe one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Perhaps a Muslim.
Nope. I was chatting with a Christian. A Christian who had been raised devoutly in the Christian faith since birth. A Christian who was a pastor’s son.
And he wasn’t going through some rebellious streak. He wasn’t dancing on the edge of apostasy. He was just telling me what he had always understood. He’d never heard it put to him in a clear, point-blank manner, that Jesus was “very God of very God.”
WHY IT MATTERS
Some people are excited that I’m writing a book, teaching seminars and working on a video series about understanding the Holy Trinity. Others yawn at the news and can’t imagine how such complex theology could be that important to real life. I’d be better off, maybe, teaching a seminar or writing a book about seven steps to a happy Christian marriage.
But, good Lord! There are lifelong Christians raised in church who don’t even know that Jesus is God come in the flesh!
I just returned from a fantastic Men’s Retreat with Bishop Rick Painter and the men from Christ the King Cathedral in Phoenix. For three days I taught about the Trinity, and the men “got it.” Dare I say for some of them it was life changing.
And that’s what good theology does – it changes our lives. Because it changes how we see God, how we see his heart toward us, how we see everything.
If, on the other hand, we take the line that doing real theology is the work of professors or priests or pastors, and the “regular folk” shouldn’t be bothered with such boredoms, we end up with an unstated idea that it doesn’t really matter what you believe, as long as you believe something and are a nice person. History is pretty good at proving the error of that way of thinking, because ideas have consequences. Whole cultures shift one way or another (sliding into oblivion or moving forward to greatness) because of what people think. Individuals have radically changed their lives (for better or for worse) because they have radically changed their understanding about things.
Jesus, Paul, Peter and Jude (I dare you to read the one chapter Epistle of Jude as an extra devotional this week) all warn about false teachers. There is such a thing as false teaching and true teaching, and what we think affects everything else in life.
THAT is one reason I am focusing on teaching and writing about the Trinity right now. But there is another, even more important reason: if you love someone – if you really are madly in love with them – you want to know everything you can about them, and teaching about the Trinity causes people, right before my eyes, to fall more in love with the God who is Love himself.