Wednesday, November 14, 2012

iConnect Sunday School - Nov. 11 (Trinity week 2)

This Sunday the iConnect class continued on with their mini-unit about the Trinity. Last week they talked about the character of God, and this week they focused on the heretical teachings about the Trinity. This week coming up is our monthly combined class with youth and preteens, and then on the following Sunday (Nov. 25) they will finish up with the last Trinity lesson and focus on the mysteries of God's character.

Here is a basic summary of what they went over this week:

Heresy #1 - Modalism:

  • The belief that God takes turn being the Father, Son, and Spirit, but can't be all three at once.
  • God was the Father in the Old Testament, Son in the New Testament, and Spirit today
  • Wrong because this view doesn't support the Trinity as being 3 equal, separate persons who make up one God, but instead one God who takes turns with different "costumes."
  • The analogy of water (ice, water, or steam) actually explains modalism, not the Trinity.
  • Bible verses: Hebrews 9:14, Luke 3:21-22

Heresy #2 - Arianism:

  • Central belief - if God is one, then he can't be three parts, therefore the Son and Spirit are not God and only the Father is.
  • God created the Son and Spirit (which they see as impersonal 'force' and the Son would be God's highest created being but not God himself)
  • Arius's teachings were deemed heretical in 325AD
  • Still what Jehovah's Witnesses believe - they claim no Biblical support for the Trinity but they also use an altered and edited translation of the Bible
  • Bible verses: John 1:1-2, Genesis 1:1-2

Heresy #3 - Tritheism:

  • Teaches that God is three separate persons that all have the same goals - so three gods
  • Most analogies actually support tritheism (e.g. God is like an apple, egg, etc.)
  • This is the belief of Mormons - they also don't believe God is the supreme God of all creation but rather an exalted man who became God and created the other parts of the Trinity to be gods as well - but not Lord over ALL creation
  • Bible verses: Titus 2:13, Acts 5:3-4, 1 Corinthians 8:4-6

Questions to ask your preteen:

  • Have you previously understood God as being one of these heresies? If so, how has your view changed?
  • What is the danger of trying to easily explain God's trinitarian character using an analogy like "God is like water"?
  • Why do you think God created us so that we can never fully understand the concept of how he is a Trinity?
  • God made humans in his image. How do we reflect his character? (one answer they probably wont think of is that God is in relationship and perfect community with himself - just as we were created to be relational)

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