Saturday, January 30, 2016

Stupid Analogies Lead To Heretical Beliefs.

Years ago, a woman I knew thought she could successfully convince me regarding her perverted brand of  Christianity; specifically, her belief that ALL true, born again Christians must speak in tongues.  

One day during our debate on the subject of spiritual gifts, I stated that it is the Holy Spirit who gifts each believer individually, severally, and uniquely, for service, to which she responded with this inane analogy:  “Well, I believe the Holy Spirit is like a chocolate chip cookie.  When you bake cookies, you mix the flour, sugar, chocolate chips, eggs, salt, and et al. all together.  So when you eat your fill of the cookies, you have all the ingredients.  And when a believer is filled with the spirit, he has all of the ingredients (meaning spiritual gifts).”

Well, guess what? I have been filled many times, with chocolate chip cookies and I have never spoken in tongues.  Why? Because, (pay close attention now) The Holy Spirit IS NOT A CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE. 

The use of stupid analogies often results in heretical doctrines.

I don’t understand the doctrine of the Trinity,  I cannot comprehend a triune God nor can I explain Him.  But I do know that stupid analogies always fail and are heretical.  God is NOT like an egg, water, a man, pie, a triangle, a three-leafed clover, or Pla-doh.  Furthermore, there are lots of nominal Christians who reject the doctrine of the Trinity simply because they think these analogies don't make sense.  And they are right.  There are no analogies that can explain the Trinity and we have no right to try to invent such nonsense.  

Nor do we have the right to disbelieve the doctrine of a triune God; JUST BECAUSE WE DON'T UNDERSTAND THE TRINITY IS NO REASON TO DISBELIEVE IT.  

Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us, “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.” 

And this is one of those secret things.  The tri-unity of God is a doctrine of special (biblical) revelation but He has NOT revealed how that can be or how we can understand it.  Ours is just to take Him at His Word and believe it.  No analogy can explain the Trinity because there is nothing in all of God's creation like Him.  He is holy; there is none like Him. 

“God Said It, I Believe It and That Settles It For Me,” was a song that was popularized in the 1970s.  At first glance, it sounds good but the obvious error in the song is the phrase, “I believe it.”  That seems to imply that the veracity of the declared Word of God is dependent on my belief.  The better lyric would be, “God Said It and That Settles It Whether I Believe It Or Not.”   

So, regarding the doctrine of the Trinity (and all other doctrines of God as He has revealed Himself in scripture), our belief (or even our understanding) is irrelevant. There are a lot of things about Him that I don't understand;  I can't comprehend eternity apart from and unaffected by time.  Nor can I understand how God can exist apart from His created universe and yet inhabit His creation. Nevertheless, God’s Word is true even if no one understands it or believes it.  We are not privileged to a complete understanding.  All we can know about Him is what He has revealed to us in His Word.  That’s it!  That settles it! That’s all!  End of discussion! 

I do find it interesting and ironic, that so many people believe so much about God that is not true (or not revealed in scripture) and yet stumble over things (like the triunity of God) that are clearly revealed.

I believe in the doctrine of the Trinity because the plain sense of Scripture, clearly and undeniably, reveals that He is One God eternally coexistent in three distinct persons.  “He Is that He Is” regardless of our beliefs or finite comprehension.  When our analogies are heretical, our beliefs are heretical.


Pumice said...

While I agree that the Holy Spirit is not a chocolate chip cookie it does not follow that it is wrong to try to understand the trinity. Are you using and analogy of analogies to discredit analogies? That gets as confusing as trying to understand how three can be one.

Heresy breeds heresy. At the same time we are to use reason, logic and observation to support our faith. I don't understand the trinity but I will continue try.

Grace and peace.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

The Trinity is indeed a very difficult concept to wrap one's head around. I can prove it logically (and have done so on my blog) but I still have to accept it on faith because it is indeed a mystery.

Ralph M. Petersen-Always Right; Sometimes Wrong! said...

Pumice, I used the chocolate chip cookie to get attention; kinda like illustrating absurdity by being absurd.

I do think there are legitimate uses for analogies in understanding God. In fact He uses some in His Word for our understanding (a Rock, a dove, a vine, a chicken). And I think we are safe to use His analogies. The point is, God has not given us any analogies for the trinity and all our own analogies fail.

Glen E. Chatfield, I was intrigued by your comment that you can prove the trinity logically. I will look for your blog post on the subject.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I forgot to include the link with my comment:

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Ralph,

You might want to look at the analogy used in this article about the Trinity. Intriguing