Q & A with Pastor Benner

I was excited to find slips of paper waiting for me in the colorful little “Questions for PB” box in the foyer at church! To the best of my ability, I will endeavor to answer these queries.  Look for the questions and answers over the next few months in this venue of the Pastor’s Corner. Here are two I will cover June and July:

  1. How can I simply explain the teaching of the Trinity? 

The two people that submitted this question were bothered by the fact that they had a hard time explaining this doctrine which is taught in Scripture.  If misery loves comfort, every Christian including myself has a hard time comprehending, let alone explaining this central teaching of the Christian Faith.  A basic definition of the Trinity is that there is one God who eternally exists in three persons:  the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Whatever we truthfully say about God is that which He has revealed to us in His written Word. The very basic nature of God is that He is eternal.  Psalm 90:2 says that “even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”  It is important in our thinking that we speak of the members of the Trinity as being the Eternal Trinity.  God the Father is eternal, God the Son is eternal, God the Holy Spirit is eternal.  Yet we believe in one God, eternally existing in three Persons.  It is the name (singular) of the Holy Trinity in which Christians are baptized as commanded by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20. 

We also see the Trinity in action in Jesus’ baptism, in that when Jesus was baptized, the Spirit descended on Him like a dove, and the voice of the Father testified, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased (Matthew 3:16,17).  In many other passages only those works which God can do are attributed to one, two, or all three members of the Trinity (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:9,10; John 1:1-14; 3:1-15; 8:58,59; 10:17,18; 20:27-29; Acts 5:3,4).  In these passages we see Jesus healing a person from an incurable disease based on the harder work of forgiving the man’s sins; Jesus being called God; Jesus claiming to be God, saying that He had the power to raise Himself from the dead; and Peter in Acts 5 rebuking Ananias for lying to the Holy Spirit which is lying to God. 

All throughout the writings of the apostle Paul, he refers to the common confession that Jesus Christ is Lord which is saying that Jesus is God (Romans 9:5; 10:9; 1 Cor. 12:3-5).  In 1st Cor. 12:3-5, Paul affirms both the deity of Christ and that the source of the spiritual gifts that God has given to the church come from the Spirit (vs. 3, the Lord vs. 4, and God vs. 5).  In other passages the source of all spiritual gifts is the Triune God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  There is so much that could be said about the Trinity, but I come to the fact that the confession of the eternal Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is foundational to the Christian Faith. 

2. Why do bad things happen to good people?

The first thing to recognize in this question is an acknowledgement that no one is perfectly good, and that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23).  Further, our first parents’ sin brings death and other negative consequences upon all of God’s good creation (Romans 6:23; 8:18-24).  When we recognize the link between sin and death, then we will begin to realize why it is that bad things happen in our world whether it is the unjust actions of people, sickness or disease, natural disasters, poverty, hunger, etc.  When we get to the second part of the question about good people having bad things happen to them, we remind ourselves that our condition as Christian believers is that we are saved sinners. In other words, as Christians we are forgiven of our sins through Jesus Christ, but we will continue to sin throughout our lives.  Our Lord Jesus Christ clearly teaches that bad things and good things will continue to be present for both believers and unbelievers. 
Our Lord says in Matthew 5:45, “for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous.”

Jesus also says in John 16:33, “33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Jesus is here speaking to His followers and He assures them that in this world you will have tribulation and trouble.  Yes, hard things will happen to God’s people and to expect otherwise is to have unrealistic expectations in this life, especially when Jesus told us that we will experience difficulty. 
The apostle Paul says in Romans 8:18, “18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

In the verses that follow Romans 8:18, the children of God are eagerly waiting our adoption as sons and the redemption of our bodies.  The sufferings of this life occur because of sin in this world, but the glory to be revealed is the glory of the new heavens and the new earth. God’s comprehensive salvation includes the redemption of our souls and bodies, and the renewal of creation itself.  While bad things happen to God’s people in this life, we look to the perfection of life when Christ comes again to judge the living and the dead.