The Trinitarian Christian worldview is unique in all religions. Three persons in one essence describes as best as is humanly possible. God is one (Deut 6:4; Is 45:5-6; Rom 3:30; Jas 2:19) and yet three (Matt 28:19; 1 Co 12:4-6; 2 Co 13:14; Eph 4:4-6; 1 Pet 1:2). There is no analogy or illustration in Scripture that explains The Trinity. Believers at all times have confessed “these things are too wonderful for me to understand” (Job 42:1-6; cf. Rom 11:33-36). Christians worship One who is wholly other yet wholly together in three persons: the co-eternal, co-equal Godhead.
God made the world to resemble Himself: perfect plurality in perfect unity. All things find their connection and function within the triune godhead. In creation as with The Creator, there is distinctiveness and diversity yet uniqueness and inclusiveness. Creation, salvation, and prayer suggest the divergence and convergence of God’s person and ways. Generally, The Father plans (originator), the Son provides (agent), and The Spirit protects (sustainer). In creation, the eternal decree of The Father (1 Co 8:6) is carried out through The Son (Jn 1:3; Col 1:16), sheltered by The Spirit (Gen 1:2). In salvation, The Father chose before the world was (Eph 1:3-6), The Son died for the sin of the world (Eph 1:7-12), The Spirit sealed those in the world for eternity (Eph 1:13-14). In prayer, believers pray to The Father (Luke 11:1), through The Son (1 Tim 2:5), helped by The Spirit (Rom 8:26-27). Interrelating in human affairs each person in The Trinity complements the other.
The complementary nature of God to man sheds further light on God’s work in creation. When The Almighty answers Job’s question with unanswerable questions (Job 38-41) the mysteries of creation suggest the mystery of the triune God’s person and work. If the world is beyond full human comprehension how much more God’s person and works?! Yet there is an operational unity within the day-to-day performance of creation (cf. Ps 104).
The Trinity gives the basis for the unity within the plurality of the universe. Trinitarian teaching produces the following guidelines for service in the Christian community:
(1) Persons define relationship. Knowing who we are establishes what we do sharing our gifts with others in The Body;
(2) Organization defines roles. Order in any system is best established by how people fit into a church’s mission.
(3) Function defines responsibility. Working together a Christian organization complements each other within the framework of training another generation for Christ.
(4) Purpose defines direction. People are asked to join a team committed to the same goal.
(5) Unity defines commitment. The operational unity of a Christian group should mirror the commitment of Father and Son to each other (John 17:20-23).
(6) Oversight defines direction. Each person’s role dictates responsibility in an area.
Dr. Mark Eckel is Professor of Leadership, Education & Discipleship at Capital Seminary & Graduate School, Washington, D.C. This statement was originally written for “School Wide Biblical Integration,” an ACSI enabler in 2002, having been used in various venues since.