In his book, God’s Words, JI Packer recounts a time when he was provoked by a Jehovah’s Witness ‘heckler’ to defend the notion of the Trinity from the New Testament. Apparently the ‘heckler’ didn’t know who he was heckling.
Packer, in the moment, decided to follow a specific line of argumentation that is quick, and I believe, helpful. Even if it’s not an exhaustive defence, I believe it’s a faithful one that many could benefit from meditating on. Here it is:
(1) endorsed Old Testament monotheism (Mark 12:29), yet,
(2) regarded himself as ‘the Son’ in a unique sense (Matt. 11:27; Mark 12:1-12; 13:32), and prescribed and accepted worship of himself as Son of God, treating this as a proper expression of faith (John 5:23; 9:35-38; 20:28); and,
(3) promised the Holy Spirit as ‘another Comforter’ in succession to himself, to carry on his own manysided ministering role (John 14:16); and,
(4) bracketed Father, Son and Spirit together as the triune ‘name’ (singular, note, not plural) into which — that is, into a relationship with which — future disciples were to be baptized (Matt. 28:19). 1.
Again, there is certainly much more to be said in defence of the doctrine of the Trinity in the New Testament, but this quick, bite-sized presentation is one that many of us would do well to learn so as to defend the doctrine to others. This is a precious doctrine well-worthy of many different types of defence.
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- JI Packer, God’s Words (Ross-shire, Great Britain: 1998), 42. ↩