A little while ago I took a bunch of middle schoolers through a sermon series on the doctrine of the Trinity. When others heard about this endeavor they things like, “Are you joking? Middle Schoolers and the Trinity? Dana, You’re nuts! Kids don’t have any interest or attention for such a complex, abstract, and weighty topic like that!” While the verdict about me being nuts is still out, I don’t think this can be used as evidence of it. I feel the same way now as I did then: students need to know, taste, and see the glory of their Triune God.
Here are five reasons why.
1) The Trinity is Who God is
There is no truth more important than the truth about who God is. There is nothing more important to the Christian than knowing who and what their God is. So, if God is Triune, then it is our duty and delight to understand and exalt in the truth about who and what He is! If we are not taking time to teach our kids about who God is and what God is like, then what the heck are we doing? Can it even be called ministry?
2) The Trinity is Essential for Christian Faith & Salvation
Without the Trinity, there is no gospel. Without the doctrine of the Trinity, there is no Father who sends His One and Only Son (John 3:16) to die as a substitute in the place of sinners (1 John 4:10) and there is no Holy Spirit given to reveal Christ, convict of sin, and make sinners alive (Titus 3:4-5). To lose the Trinity is to lose the framework and foundation of the gospel. No Trinity, no gospel. No gospel, no salvation. In agreement with the Athanasian creed, the Trinity is the core doctrine of the Christian faith, “which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.” It’s that important.
3) The Trinity is Christianity’s Most Distinctive Teaching
Michael Reeves said it well:
“What makes Christianity absolutely distinct is the identity of our God. Which God we worship: that is the article of faith that stands before all others. The bedrock of our faith is nothing less than God Himself, and every aspect of the gospel – creation, revelation, salvation – is only Christian insofar as it is the creation, revelation, and salvation of this God, the Triune God.”
The Trinity is what sets Christians apart from Islam, Hinduism, New Ageism, Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses, and every other religion or cult out there. Other belief systems have versions of grace, sin, judgment, etc., but no other religion in the world believes that God is Triune outside the Christian faith. It’s our utterly unique treasure.
4) The Trinity is Ignored or Downplayed by Many Christians
Often times because of confusion and complexity, many see the Trinity as something that’s sort of important, but not essential, beautiful, or exciting. They may give the doctrine of the Trinity a certain lip service and offer it faint allegiance, but in their hearts they’re yawning. Instead of glorying and rejoicing in the Trinity, many Christians simply neglect it. Jewels are never cherished unless they’re studied and the same is true of our Triune God.
5) The Trinity is Gravely Misunderstood by Many Christians
Whether by using faulty (i.e. heretical) analogies (e.g. an egg, a cup of ice water, a father/son/grandfather, etc.) or by poor teaching, lots of Christians misunderstand what the Bible teaches about the Trinity and they tend to spread their misunderstanding to others. Kevin DeYoung hits it on the head when he says, “When it comes to the doctrine of the Trinity, most Christians are poor in their understanding, poorer in their articulation, and poorest of all in seeing any way in which the doctrine matters in real life.” With this kind of misunderstanding among adults, how much more important is it that we lay a good foundation for our youth? While the theological cement of our student’s minds is drying, let’s make sure it’s Triune in form.
For those reasons, our youth team decided to teach the doctrines of the Trinity to our students. In doing so I hope their misunderstandings were corrected, their faith was strengthened, their hearts were overjoyed, their lives were guided, and their minds were blown by how good our Gloriously Triune God is.
Introductory Reads on the Trinity.
Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves
The Forgotten Trinity by James White
The Deep Things of God by Fred Sanders