Mush before Milk before Meat?

Right now churches across Canada are covering all sorts of topics and series in their series and sermons. Among these will be series and topics on better sex, happy marriages, how to be a strong leader, parenting techniques, how to manage money, positive thinking, vision casting, spiritual lessons from movies, and a host of other subjects. Good topics all, I suppose, but I can’t help but wonder if those are the best things to be preaching on when we consider what is not being preached on. Let me explain a bit.

I wonder what Pastor here in Fort Murray, if I were to survey their congregation and ask them to define and explain the Trinity, would feel confident that the bulk of the responses would not be some form or variation of  arianism, subordinationism, adoptionism, modalism, polytheism, monarchianism, tritheism, patripassianism, appolinarianism, socinianism, monophysitism, or nestorianism. How many people in the Church would be able to offer up a robust, biblical explanation of the Trinity? Could they defend it from Oneness Christians or their Muslim and Jehovah Witness friends and coworkers? To what degree of scrutiny can it withstand?

If I were to ask “Because God, Jesus, and the Holy spirit are one, would it be fair to say that the Father is the Son, The Son is the Spirit, and the Spirit is the Father?’ How many people would answer yes to that question, or be unsure how to answer it? And how many people know that if they did answer yes, they would be affirming the heresy of Sabellianism and repudiating the Athanasian creed?

One could argue that teaching on the Trinity is too abstract, or complicated, or esoteric, or has no bearing or application in the real world. I don’t think that’s true at all and would love to be a dog in that fight. While I know that not everyone in a Church is going to have an seminary-level grasp of the Trinity, are the leaders of the Church confident that most people will have a strong grasp of it most of the time?

And if not, is it possible that it might be important that foundational things are taught like the Trinity [Or Justification, or sanctification, or the nature of the gospel, or a host of other fundamental doctrines] before we embark on an 8 week series on how to manage one’s wealth or how to be a good leader?

Just some food for thought.

7 thoughts on “Mush before Milk before Meat?

  1. But you also need the sermons on those other things listed. Yes to theology and yes to the life topics. Both are needed.

    Also…

    I could totally defend the trinity. ;) But I didn’t learn that from Church, which I suppose is your point.

  2. I would agree with you, but which foundation needs to be laid first? The point summarized is this “And if not, is it possible that it might be important that foundational things are taught like the Trinity [Or Justification, or sanctification, or the nature of the gospel, or a host of other fundamental doctrines] before we embark on an 8 week series on how to manage one’s wealth or how to be a good leader?”

    Though I will say that I’m not surprised you didn’t learn theTrinity in Church. ;)

  3. Oh, I totally agree. You need to lay the foundation. That’s what I appreciate about the church I’m currently attending. Before every series, they do an introduction and lay the foundation theologically and historically. This summer we looked at Esther, so they spent two weeks just going over the doctrine of God’s Providence and setting up the historical context of Ruth. Then they jumped into the series. I just love our teaching though. They’re not afraid to teach theology in the sermons. It makes my heart happy. Generally, though, they stick to the theology in the main Sunday morning gatherings and the other topics are left to community groups. Like, our community recently went through an abbreviated portion of Dave Ramsey’s stuff.

    I don’t know. I like it. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s better than most and I love it.

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