1. There is only one God.
2. The Father is not the Son is not the Spirit.
3. The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God.
On the surface, this teaching appears to be a contradiction, an absurdity. This was certainly what a member of the Jehovah's Witness thought who came knocking on my door. She said that the absurdity of the doctrine of the Trinity led her to become a Jehovah's Witness. Even some Christians treat it as an idea that is too hard to grasp and so they don't think about it and ignore it.
You might even find the idea embarrassing! Should this be the case? No! Because you're not a Christian without it!
As David Broughton Knox an influential 20th century Australian theologian says, "The doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of Christian religion. Unless this doctrine is held firmly and truly, it is not possible to be a Christian. For the Christian is one who acknowledges that Jesus is Lord, yet adheres to the religion of the Bible which emphasises so strongly that there is only one God." It's only through a Trinitarian understanding that you can claim that Jesus is Lord while only believing in one God.
The gospel as the good news of Jesus Christ is just a wonderful and beautiful realisation of the oneness yet the distinctiveness of the three persons of the Trinity. It's the story of God as Father, as Son and as Spirit, fulfilling his promises and actively bringing creation towards its intended goal.
The three members of the Godhead work in harmony, through differing yet complementary parts. For example, in our salvation – we are reconciled with the Father through the death and resurrection of the Son offered through the Spirit (2 Corinthians 5 verse 18; Hebrews 9 verse 14). In our sanctification – we are transformed by the Father into the image of the Son through the in dwelling of the Spirit (Colossians 3 verse 10, Romans 8 verse 29, 2 Corinthians 3 verse 18).
Furthermore, the Trinity actually makes a lot of sense in understanding God's character. Consider this simple thought experiment. Love is something which is directed to and received from other people. We all know that God is loving by nature. But is God still loving before the creation of humanity? That is, can God still be loving while being alone? We've already discovered the answer.
He who alone is God, is never alone. The answer is yes, because he has a perfect loving relationship within Himself as a Triune God. That is, there is perfect mutual love between the Father, Son, and Spirit. You can see how God being loving wouldn't make much sense if He was a single monad.
So God as Trinity is not some weird add-on, it's at the very heart of the gospel, it's in everything that God does, and it's the truth about God. So there's no need for embarrassment.
"The doctrine of the Trinity is the glory of the Christian faith." – David Broughton Knox in 'The Everlasting God.'
Anton Zhang is aviation at the University of New South Wales, he is part of a family of four, his hobbies include music, hiking and fencing. He is an active part of the Christian youth work at the Padstow Chinese Congregational Church.
Anton Zhang's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/anton-zhang.html