Monadic Nouns

What Are The Roles Of The Father, Son, And Holy Spirit?

Verses like John 14:28, where Jesus says, “The Father is greater than I,” have led to confusion in the church. The Bible seems to clearly teach that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all equally divine. They all possess the same attributes of deity. Then how can Jesus say the Father is greater than him?

The early church developed the doctrine of functional subordinationto clarify the roles of the three members of the Trinity. Theologian Norman Geisler explains this doctrine in Systematic Theology, Volume Two: God, Creation:

All members of the Trinity are equal in essence, but they do not have the same roles. It is a heresy (called subordinationism) to affirm that there is an ontological subordination of one member of the Trinity to another, since they are identical in essence . . . ; nonetheless, it is clear that there is a functional subordination; that is, not only does each member have a different function or role, but some functions are also subordinate to others.

The Function of the Father

Go to:

3 Reasons To Fix Your Eyes On Jesus

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”

– Hebrews 12:2


It’s impossible to focus on more than one thing at a time–at least it is for me. I cannot fix my eyes upon one thing while focusing on something else, so in this same way, we must make our focal point Jesus Christ and not the things around us. When Peter actually walked on water for a brief time, he was okay as long as he kept his focus on Jesus. It was only “when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me’” (Matt. 14:30)! That’s when “Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt’” (Matt 14:31)? How was Jesus able to keep Peter from drowning? Peter had to take his eyes off the winds and fix them back on Jesus so that he was able to be kept from sinking.


Paul often compared the Christian’s life to that of a runner who strains ahead and reaches forward toward the finish line. But no runner who keeps looking back over their shoulder can be successful. Paul wrote, “I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12b-14).


None of us have ever seen Jesus in person, but we still believe in Him. Peter had seen Jesus, but he still wrote to those who hadn’t, “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet. 1:8-9). Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29b). We cannot see Jesus now, but we can see His Word, and that is the Bible. Since Jesus is the Word (John 1:1, 14), we can see Jesus in the Word. We see Jesus with the eyes of faith, faith that He lived a sinless life and died to reconcile us to God. We shall know Him in Person someday, seeing Him face to face for the first time (1 Cor. 13:12). That’s enough for me.


The author of Hebrews gives us most excellent advice: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2), which is why we must “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Heb. 12:1), and we shall not stumble as long as we fix our eyes upon Jesus.


My 5 Favorite Arguments For God’s Existence

I Can Do All Things

In today’s post, I would like to briefly consider one of the most well-known and often-quoted verses in the New Testament. In fact, it is one of the most popular verses in American evangelical culture today.

It has been printed on posters and inspirational wall art. A quick internet search reveals that you can buy key chains, rings, buttons, t-shirts, stickers, postcards, bracelets, handbags, and other Christianized trinkets with the words of this verse emblazoned, embroidered, or embossed upon them. This verse even gained some notoriety among college football fans a couple years ago when a championship quarterback sported the verse on the glare-reducing strips he wore under his eyes.

But the irony is that, by taking this verse out of context, many people have actually turned it on its head—making it mean the opposite of what it actually means. They have turned it into a slogan of personal empowerment—a declaration of self-achievement, ambition, and accomplishment. For many, this verse has been trivialized into some sort of motivating motto for material prosperity, career advancement, or athletic success.

But in reality it is nothing of the sort.

By now, you may have guessed that the verse I am describing is Philippians 4:13. There, the Apostle Paul writes, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”


Spiritual Maturity: 5 Signs You DON’T Have It

The issue of spiritual maturity seems to provoke one of the super strange conversations in the North American and Western church today.

Here’s the bizarre part: Some Christians end up criticizing other Christians for not being “deep” enough or committed enough to be “real” Christians. (The fact that this may not sound bizarre to you is, in itself, evidence of how bizarre this has gotten.)

There is apparently a certain subset of Christians who have maturity figured out, and the rest of us, well, not so much.

And yet often what we call spiritual maturity…isn’t. In fact, at least five of the common claims we make about having spiritual maturity actually show you lack it.

This Is What The Conversation Sounds Like

So, to be clear, how exactly does this issue surface in conversation?

In leadership circles, the dialogue often starts with a question such as, “What are you doing to disciple your people?” (emphasis on disciple, often said with a deeper voice than normal) or a dismissive statement like, “So you’re attracting people, but then what?”

And it’s almost always said condescendingly, as though some people own the maturity franchise and enjoy watching other fellow-Christ followers squirm while they try to come up with answers that will only show how immature they really are.

I’ve been on the receiving end of that conversation many many times, because, well, our church reaches a lot of people who ordinarily don’t show up at church.

5 Signs of Spiritual Maturity…That Actually Show You Lack It

Before I outline the list, please know I’m not claiming to be “mature.” I’m not even claiming I understand the issue entirely. I’m just saying there’s something broken in our dialogue and in our characterization of spiritual maturity.

As for me personally, I would hope I’m maturing, but have I arrived? Not a chance.

Discipleship is an organic, life-long process. It has something to do with what the ancients called “sanctification.” The process of becoming more and more holy, a term, which stripped from its strangeness, simply means to be “set apart.” Basically, it means you’re different than you were. And that process continues until you die. I’ve outlined a few of the markers of more authentic spiritual maturity in this post, and again here.

In the meantime, if you want to keep growing, here are five signs that pass for spiritual maturity in our culture that probably show you lack it.

1. Pride in How Much Bible You Know

Since when was it a good thing to be proud of how much Bible you know, and to look down on people who don’t know?

As Paul points out, knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Clearly he knew what he was talking about.

Some Christians strut their biblical knowledge like it is an accomplishment. That’s so wrong. 

I won my share of sword drills (remember those?) when I was a kid, and I take time to read and study the Scriptures pretty much every day, but as far as I can tell, I’m supposed to use that knowledge to function as a bridge to people, not as a barricade showing everyone else how righteous I am. Because, incidentally, last time I checked I wasn’t that righteous.

Use the Bible as a bridge to the culture, not as a barricade against it. To do otherwise puts us on the same ground as another religious group Jesus had strong views against. (Here’s a list of the Top 10 Things Pharisees Say Today.)

And it was never about what you know or don’t know, but about what God knows and who God loves.

2. Truth Without Grace

In a similar vein, being all about truth is a problem, as well.

I love how John phrases the arrival of Jesus: that Jesus came filled with truth and grace.

One of the things I love most about Jesus is that truth is never separated from grace, and grace is never separated from truth. He was always grace-filled as he spoke what is true…in that the truth is always designed to lead toward grace.

Yet some “mature” people feel it’s OK to land on one side of the equation. I’m a truth person, we tell people. No…maybe you’re just a jerk. (And I say this as a guy who leans on the truth side of the equation.)

Whenever I am tempted to speak truth, I always have to come before God to ensure it is equally motivated by grace.

Could you imagine if we all did?

The rest is at:

Five Lessons Learned from Counseling those with Anxiety

Fear…Anxiety…Worry.  In the cursed world in which we live as fallen image bearers, this pattern can often be a part of the human experience.  Many times, it is caused by sinful unbelief or idolatry.  At other times, it is a physiological response and at other times, it’s a mixture of both.  Having spent years walking alongside many for whom anxiety is a reality, there are many lessons I have begun to glean.  Here are five of those lessons learned from counseling those with anxiety.

1. Scripture Speaks to this Issue

The Word of God speaks to our anxieties and regularly seeks to call us out of it.  In our day, however, the Scriptures are often not brought to bear in the face of our anxieties.  Perhaps that is because many people believe anxiety is merely a clinical issue, far removed from the church or the Scriptures, or perhaps, more likely, because in the midst of very difficult anxieties, Christians have not learned the pattern of reaching for the truths of Scripture.  I believe, and have seen countless times, that thinking, or cognitions, must be addressed in counseling.  The way we perceive things, how we are conditioned through years of thinking patterns, and how we tend to accentuate certain thoughts above others, all must be addressed when we deal with anxiety.  The Scriptures are the best filter for how we go ought to go about this task (i.e. Jesus’ teaching on anxiety- Matt 6:25-34, considering our thought life -2 Cor 10:5, Phil 4:8, Ps 56:3, as well as dwelling on God’s goodness- Ps 77:11-12).

The Scriptures also reveal deep truths regarding our tendency to create false gods and idols, which cause anxiety, when elevated to an unholy, or ungodly place.  For instance, when our job, family, reputation, money, etc. become an idol, the Scriptures call us to repentance.  A byproduct of idolatry is that we often feel anxious when our idol is not “worshiped” by others, when it fails us, or when it is ultimately exposed as a false god.  Here, the wisdom of Scripture can produce the fruit of peace when we filter our lives through its pages.

In addition to the application of specific texts and passages of Scripture, it is important to consider how Scripture as a whole speaks to certain issues.  Specifically, we must be careful, in any situation, but particularly in our dealings with anxiety, to look at the patterns of Scripture, understanding how Scripture as a whole teaches a specific doctrine or speaks to a particular concern.  And this is where historic confessions aid us.  The Second London Baptist Confession of Faith provides a helpful framework, which arises from the pages of Scripture, through which we can understand how the various passages of Scripture we are using fit within the overall united message of the Scripture.  This guides us from taking passages out of context, or placing emphases in places that are misguided.  It also helps us to not treat the Bible simply as a pill box from which we gather various medication, but as an entire course of treatment in our moments of fear, worry and anxiety patterns.

There is more: