Book Review: When Heaven Invades Earth, by Bill Johnson


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

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Holy Spirit Come

What Does the Old Testament Say about the Trinity?

~ Fred Sanders Fred Sanders is Professor of Theology at Biola University’s Torrey Honors Institute. He has an MDiv from Asbury Theological Seminary and PhD from Graduate Theological Union. He is the co-editor of Christology, Ancient and Modern and Advancing Trinitarian Theology, and author of The Triune God. His new online course on the doctrine of the Trinity is also now available.

In the New Testament, Christians are given a new lens through which they see God. He is still the one true God we discover in the Jewish Shema prayer:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”—Deuteronomy 6:4–5 (emphasis added)

But we discover Jesus and the Holy Spirit as distinct persons who are also God. Because of this New Testament revelation, Christian orthodoxy relies on an understanding of God as a Trinity—one living and true God who exists eternally as three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

In light of this revelation, can we expect to see traces of the Trinity revealed in the Old Testament as well? Dr. Fred Sanders, Associate Professor of Theology in the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University, answers this question in his online course, The Triune God. The following post is adapted from this course.

Read more:

Without God’s Spirit

W:o Spirit

Spiritual community is always a miracle

by Larry Crabb

Spiritual community is always a miracle. It cannot be programmed into existence. It will never be successfully scheduled to take place on Tuesday evening when the small group meets. Yet we still try to manage community. We end up settling for either an occasionally convincing counterfeit of community, where all that’s missing is the Spirit, or we lose hope that we’ll ever experience the real thing. And, of course, we won’t — not as long as we stay in control.

Becoming a True Spiritual Community, p. 165

Sermon Saturdays: Receiving the Holy Spirit