Talking about the Trinity

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We regularly encourage Christians not to talk about the Trinity with Mormons.  We do that for a couple of reasons.  One is because almost all Mormons are not bothered by how Mormonism describes God.  In fact, Mormonism’s view of God is something most find attractive.  Recently I had a nice conversation with a young mother who had been raised in a very active Christian home but had converted to Mormonism in her late teens.  I asked her what the things were that attracted her to Mormonism.  Without hesitation the first thing she said was that Mormonism made God understandable to her.  Her answer didn’t surprise me.  In fact, I was expecting it because so many others from similar backgrounds had told me the same thing.

One of the foundational principles of our witnessing strategy is to focus on topics that Mormons are bothered by – and not on those subjects that bother us.  Since the majority of Mormons aren’t bothered by Mormonism’s view of God, we don’t feel talking about God’s nature generates productive conversations.

Another one of our foundational witnessing principles is to have a laser-like focus on the most important topic, namely, how people can live eternally with Heavenly Father.  In that we take our cue from the New Testament.  As one analyzes its descriptions of the witnessing efforts of the early church, it quickly becomes evident that their focus was on the problem of human sin and God’s solution in the work of Jesus Christ.  You will search in vain for examples of how to witness by talking about the Trinity.  Such examples are just not there.  For that reason also we focus on the topics of sin and salvation and not on the Trinity.

Having said all that, times will still arise when you will need to talk about God’s nature.  It will come up especially after you have had a number of talks with your Mormon friend or missionary. When that happens we are tempted to try to explain the Trinity especially by using one of the many illustrations that are popularly used.  But no explanation or illustration of the Trinity is satisfactory since God’s triune nature is truly unfathomable to human reason.

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Rather than trying to explain the Trinity, I make no bones about how unfathomable God is.  In fact, I go out of my way to stress that there is no way we can understand his nature. By doing this I highlight God’s greatness, emphasizing that he is a completely different Being.  In this connection I like an illustration a friend recently shared with me. God is on a vertical plane and we are on a horizontal one.  Since we are on completely different planes, the only thing we can know of God is the point where those planes intersect. That is equivalent to Jesus’ coming to earth and God’s revelation of himself in the Bible.  But that also means that the vast percentage of God’s nature (and his ways) is unknowable to us.

Whether you find that illustration useful or not, realize the futility of trying to explain the Trinity.  Instead of being frustrated by God’s unsearchable nature, stand in awe of that.  And be filled with gratitude that such an awesome God loved you enough to save you – at great cost to himself.  To him be all praise and glory.

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