I have been wondering, for several years, if there are other people who are convinced that the traditional teachings of the Church do not fulfill the accurate and true attitude, image, and mind-set of the Trinity. Specifically, why do we seem to separate the attitude and image of God the father from those of Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit?
I recently found a short yet significant read that is causing redefining moments in my thought processes. William P. Young (The Shack, 2007) presents compelling suggestions that we, as a Church, need to reassess the images we invoke when we speak of the attitude, image, and mind-set of the Trinity.
Traditional teachings seem to present that God the Father is a wise old man who sits in judgment. Sometimes we include the flowing long gray- or white-haired old man who wears a flowing robe. Usually we project a sternness of appearance, demeanor, and attitude. I suggest that many times we project God the Father as a proverbial taskmaster. Kind of like when we do something wrong (make an error, sin) look out because our error or sin has caused the Father to be angry. I suggest that the Father is not the angry God that Edwards (1741) presents in his sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Actually, the Father is quite the opposite. The second point of discussion is our projection of Jesus.
I humbly suggest that Jesus is not the epitome of a Jewish priest. My heart strings tell me that Jesus is more like the personal prayer partner or accountability partner that each of us should have, and, be to others. Yes, he is a priest. Yes, he is Jewish. Yes, he is the human form of God the Father. However, his role is not judgmental. Rather, reconciliation and relationship restoration. Biblical perspectives and stories suggest that Jesus is a hands-on, loving, caring, one-on-one relationship focused partner. His relationship with the disciples, His presentation to the woman at the well, His people-first behavior, His commitment to the Father’s will, are examples of Jesus’ dedication to people. In summary, we misrepresent God the Father and Jesus the Son as the good cop-bad cop cycle. The third point of discussion is our understanding of The Holy Spirit.
In short, I suggest that the Holy Spirit has two primary jobs. First, to commute between heaven and earth to present to God the Father, and Jesus the Son, evidence that we are behaving with a mind-of-Christ. Basically, to evidence that we are getting it right. The second job is to quietly convict us of our errors (sins). The Holy Spirit’s intent of conviction is to bring us into restored relationship that provides physical evidence so that the Holy Spirit may complete His primary job.
Young’s novelette presents a thorough review of our misconceptions while presenting plausible alternatives. His thought processes are interesting and Biblically valid. Enjoy the read.
Thanks for listening.
Dennis LeRoy Duncan
Edwards, Jonathan. (1741). Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Retrieved on 31 May 2008, from The Holy Bible. The Open Bible. King James Version. (1975). Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Young, William P. (2007). The Shack. Windblown Media, Los Angeles, California.