Christian Theology Discussion Board Replies

1. Christian Theology Discussion Board Replies

Why is the doctrine of the Trinity so important if the word does not even appear in the Bible? Briefly explain the concept. Support your work using Scripture and the course reading.

Hello, my fellow missionaries; by His special grace, we are now in week two. Thank you, Jesus. This week’s assignment is the doctrine of the Trinity (God in three persons).
The doctrine of the Holy Trinity stands as the substratum of the Christian faith, affirming the triune nature of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in perfect unity and co-equality. Scripture serves as the cornerstone of this doctrine, with passages such as (Matthew 3:16-17), witnessing the simultaneous presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at Jesus’s baptism, epitomizing their distinct roles within the Godhead1. Furthermore, Jesus’s Great Commission in (Matthew 28:19) instructs believers to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, reinforcing the triune nature of God as the foundation of Christian identity and practice2. Thus, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, rooted in biblical revelation, provides a comprehensive framework for understanding the divine nature.

The importance of the Trinity within Christian theology is due to several reasons. First, it summarizes the nature of God as relational. The Trinity reveals God’s inherent nature as a community of love and exemplifies the relationship within the Godhead. This interpersonal aspect of God serves as the base for understanding divine love and unity and is the basis for human relationships. Christians believe that as creatures made in the image of God, they are called to reflect this divine relationality in their interactions with one another, fostering unity, compassion, and love within their communities and beyond. Also, the doctrine of the Trinity is pivotal for understanding the work of salvation – each person of the Trinity plays a distinct role in the plan of redemption. The Father sends the Son into the world to save humanity, the Son willingly sacrifices himself for sin, and the Holy Spirit empowers believers, convicts hearts, and sanctifies individuals. This triune involvement in salvation underscores the depth of God’s love and the comprehensive nature of divine redemption, which extends from initiation to completion through the work of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Finally, the Trinity serves as a framework for realizing the unity within the Christian faith. While affirming the oneness of God, the doctrine acknowledges the diversity of roles and functions among the three persons. This unity amidst diversity provides a model for understanding the complexity of God’s creation and the interconnectedness of all things. The Trinity fosters a balanced understanding of the divine attributes, such as justice and mercy, power and humility, and sovereignty and grace, as exemplified in the cooperative work of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thus, the doctrine of the Trinity shapes theological discourse and reforms Christian worship, community life, and mission, serving as a lens through which believers perceive and engage with the world.

According to Gregg, the three persons differ in their roles and relations. As for the distinctions in roles (the economic Trinity), the Father exercises the primary role in creation (working with the Son and the Spirit to create). The Son exercises the primary role in salvation (working with the Father and the Spirit to save). The Holy Spirit exercises the primary role in sanctification (working with the Father and the Son to bring transformation). Indeed, in their different activities, the three distinct persons inseparably work together in creation, salvation, and sanctification. Still, these divine works are appropriated by—are the specific responsibility of—one of the three persons.

The concept of the Trinity, as understood in Christianity, finds support in various passages throughout the Bible. One example is in (Matthew 28:19), where Jesus instructs his disciples, saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” This verse highlights the triune nature of God, where all three are invoked in the act of baptism. Additionally, in (2 Corinthians 13:14), the apostle Paul offers a benediction saying, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Here, Paul mentions the three persons of the Trinity—Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit—in a way that suggests their equality and unity. These passages provide biblical support for the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, affirming the existence of one God in three persons.        

There are some dangers in the doctrine of the Trinity, such as neglecting the unity of the Godhead and risking the perception of three separate entities rather than one unified God. Scripture asserts this unity in passages like (Deuteronomy 6:4); declaring, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one,” emphasizing the indivisibility of God1. Conversely, disregarding the distinctiveness of the three persons can lead to theological confusion or heresy. (Matthew 28:19), for instance, commands baptism “in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit,” underscoring their distinct identities within the Godhead2. Hence, maintaining unity and distinctiveness is crucial in apprehending the Trinity’s profound mystery without falling into error.

2. Christian Theology Discussion Board Replies

(300 words per reply) (APA citations) (in-text citations) 

Hello Fellow Scholars,

    It is my prayer that each of you are on a continued path to growth and knowledge in this second week of our educational process. The doctrine of Trinity is a meaningful and central affirmation of the Christian Faith.

                                                                        The Importance Of The Doctrine Of The Trinity

The foundational distinction between Christianity and all other religious traditions is the doctrine of the Trinity. This doctrine affirms the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as God in three persons. Gregg R. Allison, author of 50 Core Truths Of The Christian Faith, writes, ” The doctrine of the Trinity affirms that the one true God eternally exists as three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each of these three persons are fully God. The Father is fully God. The Son is fully God. The Holy Spirit is fully God. The three persons are equal in nature, glory and power, sharing in one Godhead. None of the three persons is dependent on the other for His deity. Rather, each is God of Himself: The Father is God Himself. The Son is God of Himself. The Holy Spirit is God of Himself. Yet, there are not three gods but one God in three persons, ” The importance of the Trinity is the fact of Christian salvation. The Trinity teaches that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died to bring salvation from sin to humanity. The word Trinity when broken down comes from the prefix ” tri ” which means three, and unity which means one. Christopher A. Hall writes about man’s difficulty to understand the doctrine of the Trinity. He states, ” Linguistic and spatial categories are proving incapable of adequately describing God. ” The importance of the doctrine of the Trinity is our salvation. Without the Doctrine of the Trinity, Christianity would not exist.                       (King James Version, Romans 10:9-11), ” That if thou shalt confess with thou mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.

                                                                                         The Concept Of The Trinity

The Doctrine of the Trinity, while not mentioned in the Bible, is supported in the Old Testament with the concept of plurality and unity. (Genesis 1:26,a), states: ” And God said, let us make man in our image, and after our likeness. ” (Genesis 3:22,a), states: ” And the Lord God said, Behold the man has become one of us. ” (Isaiah 6:8), states: ” Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who shall go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. ” There is one God with three functions working in unity. 

    In the book of Genesis, there is a Hebrew word used to describe the plurality of God, that word is Elohim. God Himself, refers to Himself in the plural. In the New Testament, the Trinity is described in the Great Commission, (Matthew 28:19), ” Go ye therefore, and teach all Nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, ” (2 Corinthians 13:14), states:         ” The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. Thou the word Trinity is never used in the scriptures, the doctrine of the Trinity is revealed throughout.

    When explaining to children, what the Trinity is in a simplistic form: I point to myself and say, I am a son, I am a father, and a grandfather. I serve in three capacities but I am one person. How much greater is God than I ?!

                                                                                               The Council Of Nicaea

In 325 CE, The First Council of Nicaea finalized the doctrine of the Trinity. The Council was convened by Roman Emperor Constantine to discuss the divinity of Christ. The council was an ecumenical council made of Church leaders to determined questions of faith using a theological method.

                                                                                                        Bibliography

Allison, Gregg, R., 50 Core Truths of the Christian Faith: A Guide to Understanding and Teaching Theology, Grand Rapids, MI Baker Books, (2018).

Hall, Christopher, A., Learning Theology with the Church Fathers, InterVarsity Press, (2002).

3. Christian Theology Discussion Board Post

(600 words) (APA in-text citation) (APA format)

What does it mean for humanity to be made imago Dei? Do the words “image” and “likeness” mean the same thing? In what ways do we bear the image of God? Support your statements.

4. Zoom Meeting Summary

(300 word summary) (APA format)

Okay. Well, good evening, everyone. Welcome to our second collaborative session for this class.

I hope and trust that you all are doing well. Well, we’re going to go ahead and get started with the word of prayer, and then we will get into our study for today. Okay.

Let’s go to God in prayer. Heavenly Father, we worship you. We adore you.

We bless your holy name for you are God, and there is none like you in all heavens and on earth, and beneath the earth, no one can ever compare with you. Father, we affirm that you are the giver of all good things, and that we can have nothing on our own, just as the branches can do nothing without the vine, so we can do nothing without you. That’s why we’re asking for your empowerment tonight as we begin this session.

Father, I pray for every student in this class, and for everyone who is currently present and those who are joining us, I pray that you will minister to each student, O God. You know the areas where they are struggling. You know their concerns and their questions, O God.

I pray that you meet them at the point of their need, every one of them. So we ask that you go before us in this session, so that we’ll have a meaningful and fruitful time as we study some important concepts in Christian theology. So thank you for your presence, and thank you for your leading in Jesus’ name.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Amen. All right. Amen.

Amen. Amen. All right, so we are in week three.

Gradually, we’re making some progress. This is an eight-week course, and so far, you’ve been doing great, and I encourage you to keep up with the good work. Most of you have been very impressed with your submissions, discussion board posts, and other assignments, so please keep up the good work.

And I pray that God will give you the grace that you need. Please take my feedback seriously, especially in your discussion board posts. I have provided as much clarity as I possibly could to help you be clear about my expectations so that you can make the most of this learning opportunity.

So we are in week three, and what we are looking at is God’s marvelous creation and its horrifying corruption, and I believe that by now, you should have watched the video lecture by Dr. Anderson on a biblical perspective of anthropology or the doctrine of man. And in this video lecture, Dr. Anderson has covered some important concepts in biblical anthropology. He spoke about the constituent elements of our humanity.

He also has covered the subject of the image of God in man and the fall of man and the consequences that follow. So if you have not watched this video lecture, I encourage you to do so so that you will have a better understanding of what we are looking at this week, week three, on biblical anthropology. But today, what I want us to do, over and above the video lecture you have for this week, is I want us to look at the history of Christian theology.

Now, I understand that some of you, this may be, this is your first course in theology, so you have very little knowledge or background of Christian theology. And so I’m hoping that in this session, you will learn some important things on the history of Christian theology. And hopefully, you will come to appreciate theology more than perhaps you are currently doing because there is so much beauty and so much prestige about Christian theology that you will learn from tonight that you will really be proud to call yourself as a student of theology and an emerging theologian.

So there’s so much to learn about this history of Christian theology that should really make you proud of your chosen discipline of study. So what we’re going to do as we explore this history of Christian theology is we are going to look at how Christian theology was viewed throughout the ages, beginning with the patristic period. That’s the period of the church fathers.

And the patristic period is from the first century to the fifth century. And some scholars extend the period up onto the eighth century. But we’re going to look at how theology or Christian theology was viewed in the age of the church fathers or the fathers of the church.

And then we would then look at how Christian theology was viewed in the middle ages. And that’s approximately from the fifth century all the way to the 15th century. And then we’ll look at how Christian theology was viewed in the modern ages.

And that’s going to be from the 16th century to the 20th century. And finally, we will look at how Christian theology was viewed in or is being viewed in this modern age, which is the 21st century. And as you will see, as you will eventually learn, there are very interesting perspectives about Christian theology over the years and through the ages.

And so I hope that in this lecture, you will get to not only understand the history of your chosen field of study, but you will also really appreciate and respect the fact that be thankful, I would say that God has called you to study theology because there’s a lot of beauty and prestige in theology that you will learn. I know as I speak now, some might be saying, really, I didn’t really think of theology as something very special, but well, we’ll see. At the end of this lecture, I’m hoping that you will get to see and appreciate theology even more.

And when someone asks you, what are you studying? You should speak with all pride. I am a theology student because of what it is. I remember one time when I was working on my doctoral work and I was in South Africa, that’s where I did my PhD.

And the former South African president organized a conference, a leadership conference in which he invited scholars and experts from all fields of study. There were former presidents there, ambassadors, those lawyers, politicians and doctors at different fields and theologians. So I was privileged to have been invited as one of the speakers in that conference and that academic or leadership symposium.

And so when I spoke, when I did a presentation on intellectual leadership, I was pretty much speaking on how the state can be better administered from a biblical and theological perspective. And I argued that actually, what a government is trying to do without the church, the government can actually do well with the church. For instance, the government is trying to curb corruption, trying to advance an agenda that will result in accountable leadership and governance and discourage corruption, theft and all of that.

Imagine if the church actually succeeds in this mission and the mission of the church is to evangelize, is to transform lives. And so naturally speaking, those who are thieves will become God-fearing men and women serving in power. So one of the strategies to really transform the state is to allow for the church to move and amongst other things.

And when I finished speaking, a young law student came to me and said, wow, you have totally changed my perspective about theology. We never knew that theology, there was something beautiful about theology, how you presented governance from a theological perspective really makes sense. And it really has changed my perspective completely about theology.

And I never knew that theologians too were this smart. And so, and you will see why. By the end of this video, you will see why you should be proud of yourself as a theologian.

In fact, if you do not display brilliance as a theologian, then you are letting us down. You are not representing the beauty and the academic rigor of the theological discipline. And as you will see in a moment, by the end of this lecture, you will see how beautiful and how academically robust this discipline of theology really is.

So let’s begin with how Christian theology was viewed in the patristic period, beginning from the first or second century all the way to the fifth century. So during this period, theologians were primarily concerned with simply developing some of the fundamental doctrines of the church. And those who made a significant contribution to the development of the church in establishing the doctrines of the church through their research and through their writings were conferred the title of doctor of the church.

Doctor of the church. Now, the word doctor is derived from a Latin verb, doctore. And doctore simply means a teacher or a scholar.

So in the patristic period, the title of doctor was highly respected and highly prestigious. And it was only conferred on Christian theologians. So you may not have known this.

The title of doctor was developed by the church, in the church, for the church. The first doctors were theologians. And those who earned the title of doctor were highly respected.

These were men who had distinguished themselves through their research and writing as they made contributions in the church. And so in the Western church, these were some of the early doctors of the Western church. Men like St. Jerome or St. Gregory and St. Augustine and St. Ambrose.

So these were the first four doctors of the Western church. And in the Eastern church, these are some of the examples of the early doctors. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory of Nazianzus.

Okay. So at a time when theologians were called doctors, lawyers were called lawyers or rather they were not even there actually. Physicians were called physicians.

Only doctors, that is only theologians who had distinguished themselves in research and writing were referred to as doctors. And it made sense because the meaning of the title was teacher or scholar. So it made sense for you to go to a church and say, I’m looking for the doctor of this church because that meant I’m looking for the scholar, the teacher of this church.

So some have argued that eventually medical doctors began converting this title because it was so prestigious and they also wanted to be called doctors. And so they successfully converted the title and today even medical doctors seem to have more claim over the title of doctor than the original owners, so to speak of the title. Today, if you just mentioned the word doctor, the first thing that comes to mind is a medical doctor.

So when you actually go to a hospital and you say, hey, I’m looking for a doctor, what are you saying is I’m looking for a teacher. I’m looking for a scholar. It would make sense for you to go to a church and say, I’m looking for the doctor of this church or to go to a university and say, I’m looking for the doctor because that’s where scholars are.

That’s where teachers are. So those who were first referred to as doctors were theologians and they were highly respected. They were the pioneers of education.

They set the standard for research and writing. Okay, so during the patristic period, Christian theology was the only major academic discipline of study and theology was highly revered as an essential part of the church in enabling the church to fulfill its mandate and to carry out its mission. And the Christian theologians in the patristic period mainly focused on developing essential doctrines of the church through their research, through their writings and through theological debates with one another.

So during this period, Christian theology was highly revered, was highly respected and those who distinguished themselves were known as the doctors of the church. Then in the middle ages, that is from the fifth century to the 15th century, this reputation continue to be evident in society. Even though things were changing and now education began expanding and so universities were established and other disciplines of study were now included in the curriculum.

So it was not just theology anymore, but there were other disciplines of study. And in these major disciplines, they also argued that just as there are doctors in the field of theology, so should there be doctors in other fields. And that made sense because if a doctor means a scholar, and a teacher, and that’s already evident in the field of theology, it should also be the case in other academic disciplines.

And so in the middle ages, there were four major faculties or major disciplines of study. There was the theology where the terminal degree was a doctor of theology, which was abbreviated as a THD, okay? So the THD is the traditional designation, is the traditional designation, a research degree, a terminal degree in the field of theology. And then there was the field of law and the terminal degree in the field of law was the LLD.

This was a research professional degree in law. So those who attained the highest level of scholarship in the field of law were conferred the degree of doctor of law. Then there was the doctor of medicine, was another degree that was conferred on physicians who had attained the highest level of education.

And this degree was abbreviated by what is currently popular, the MD. Then the fourth category of study in academia was the doctor of philosophy, the PhD. So this was a more general area of study.

So if you were not studying theology where you got a THD, or if you were not studying law where you got an LLD, and if you were not studying medicine where you got an MD, you would study philosophy where you have a PhD. So PhD was just a terminal degree, a general terminal degree in the arts and sciences. So in amongst, in the class of theologians, in the middle ages, if you wanted to be a respected theologian, you don’t go get a PhD, you get a THD because that was the professional research degree in theology.

And if you wanted to be a lawyer, you don’t go get a PhD, you go get an LLD. And the same with medicine. And then if, but if you were not in any of these first three categories, then you can now study a general PhD either in the arts or sciences.

So even though there were other academic disciplines where doctorates were conferred during the middle ages, theology was still viewed as the highest faculty in the middle ages. And the reason why theology was still viewed as the highest faculty was because theology was seen to be a discipline that is more than just an academic discipline. They believe that theology was special because it helped in the development of our spiritual formation and it helped to engage us with the divine, something that law could not do, something that medicine could not do and something that philosophy in general could not do.

So theology still maintain its place as a unique and special discipline, the highest of them all. Here is how this Australian historian by the name of Peter Harrison, here is how he explained how theology was viewed in his book titled, The Territories of Science and Religion. He said, the proper progression in the order of study beginning with the material and mutable natural philosophy proceeding then to the immutable things that were associated with material objects, that’s mathematics, before moving on to elevated divine things that were immutable and completely divorced from matter.

So according to Peter Harrison, during the middle ages, there were three levels of study. Okay, the first level of study was the study of mutable things, mutable things are things that can change and this was where a natural philosophy was placed. So that was the first level of study.

So when you study philosophy, it’s the first level, kind of study of mutable things, things that could change. The second level was the study of immutable things that were associated with matter and that’s where mathematics was placed. The study of immutable things, things that are immutable are things that cannot change.

So immutable things, but these things are associated with matter, that which you can touch, that which you can see and feel. Then the third level of study, which was the highest level is the study of immutable things that were completely divorced from matter and that was where theology was placed. So theology was still considered the highest faculty because it involved the study of immutable things that were completely divorced from matter.

Now, still within the middle ages, there was the question of how should we view theology? We know that theology is very important. We know that theology is the highest faculty when compared with the other disciplines of law and medicine and philosophy in general, but what is theology? Is theology a science or not? And so the scholars began debating on the scientific basis of theology or the scientific nature or essence of theology. And there were three main views or three main schools of thought regarding whether or not theology should be viewed as a science.

The first view was the view that no, theology should not be viewed as a science. Theology is not a science. And this view was propagated by the great fourth century theologian by the name of St. Augustine.

So the writings of St. Augustine still resonated even into the middle ages. So St. Augustine rejected the idea that theology should be viewed as a science because according to him, science is concerned with temporal things while theology is concerned with eternal things. So he argued that theology should be viewed as a separate discipline.

It should not be associated with the sciences rather that a new category should be created where theology would be placed. So theology is a special discipline. It should not be viewed as a science or as arts but something totally different.

So he rejected the idea. In fact, he felt that by referring to theology as a science, you are relegating theology to the place of, you would be relegating theology to the field of science. So theology is higher than science and higher than art, higher than anything else.

So let it be in a category all by itself. The second view was a view which was argued by a certain theologian by the name of St. Thomas Aquinas in his book, Summa Theologica. And he argued that theology is not just a science, that theology is the queen of the sciences, which in Latin, this is described as Regina Santerum.

Regina Santerum. So theology is Regina Santerum, the queen of the sciences. However, as argued by some scholars like Hobsbawm and Ranger in their book titled The Invention of Tradition, they argued that there is no clear evidence that St. Thomas Aquinas or any other theologian or scholar in the middle ages actually referred to theology as a queen of sciences.

And so they argue that the idea that theology is Regina Santerum is simply an invented tradition. But there is evidence within the writings of Aquinas to justify that he actually referred to theology as the ruler or the mistress of other disciplines of study. And that is because theology examines the first causes and objects that are entirely free from matter.

So in any case, arguably theology, as argued by St. Thomas Aquinas is not just a science, it is the queen of the sciences. Every other science, every other field of science kind of take its roots and its inspiration from theology. So theology was still highly revered from the perspective of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Now, the third view on the debate on whether theology is a science is the view that, well, if theology is a science, then theology should be viewed as a practical science, a practical science. And there were notable scholars who actually within the middle ages who argued in favor of the fact that theology is not just any kind of science, it is a practical science. Some of the notable scholars were scholars like William of Auxerre, who was a 13th century French theologian.

And we have scholars like Alexander of Hales, a 13th century English theologian. And we have Richard of Middleton was also a 13th century English theologian. And we have Saint Bonaventure was a 13th century Italian theologian.

And Don Scotus was a 14th century English theologian. So these scholars argued that theology could best be seen as a practical science than a theoretical science. That is theology should be seen as a discipline that directs us towards action rather than towards theoretical knowledge.

And so in the middle ages, there was a significant leaning on the idea or the argument that theology is a practical science. And that theology still has an important place in society, but it should be viewed as a practical science. It’s a peculiar science, one that is more practical than theoretical.

So this was how Christian theology was viewed in the middle ages. Still very strong, very powerful and highly respected discipline. Now let’s look at how theology or Christian theology was viewed in the modern ages from the 17th century.

Christian Theology Discussion Board Replies

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