“The Trinity & Making Sense of the World”
Romans 1:19-20, Psalm 19:1-4, and Matthew 28:18-20
June 4, 2023
Faith Presbyterian Church – Morning Service
The Reading of the Word
It’s good to be back with you all this morning.
As I’ve mentioned, today is Trinity Sunday, which is an opportunity for us each year, in our worship and in the sermon, to pause and to reflect together on the doctrine of the Trinity, and its implications for our lives.
And so, our sermon topic this morning will be the Trinity. Now, the Trinity is a mysterious and somewhat abstract doctrine, so the sermon may feel a bit more abstract this morning. But I hope this morning to also connect it to our concrete lives. More specifically, I want to consider how the Trinity makes sense of the world we live in.
The sermon will also be a bit more topical this morning, and I’ll be drawing from a number of Scriptural texts and concepts. But we’ll begin with three Scripture passages: Romans 1:19-20, Psalm 19:1-4, and Matthew 28:18-20.
So, please do listen carefully, for this is God’s word for us this morning:
From Romans 1:
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Then from Psalm 19:
1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
And finally, from Matthew 28:
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
This is the word of the Lord. (Thanks be to God.)
“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” [1 Peter 1:24-25]
Let’s pray …
Prayer of Illumination
Grant that we might meditate this morning
on your heavenly mysteries of wisdom,
and so grow in true faith and devotion to you,
for your glory and for our good.
Grant this we ask, in Jesus’s name.
[Based on John Calvin’s prayer before his lectures on Ezekiel]
Our focus, as we consider the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity this morning, will be on how it makes sense both of God and of the world we live in.
We’ve started with two passages – one from Romans and one from Psalm 19 – that speak to the Bible’s claim about the relationship between God and the world.
The world, we’re told here, shows to all people who God is. In the created world the invisible attributes of God are made visible, so that they are clearly perceived. Creation tells us about God. Creation itself pours out speech about God.
Genesis 1 tells us that God created the word through speaking. Proverbs 8 tells us that God made the world through his wisdom. Theologian Herman Bavinck explains these realities like this – he writes: “The world is an embodiment of the thoughts of God.” [Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, 1.208] What does Bavinck mean by that? Well, the creation is an embodied manifestation of God’s words – God spoke, and things came into being. And words are a communication of our thoughts. Therefore, the creation is an embodiment of the thoughts of God – of thoughts he wants to communicate to us.
And what kind of thoughts does God want to communicate to us? Well, he wants especially to tell us about himself – to tell us who he is.
And so creation, in so many ways, is a communication of God’s attributes. It’s one of the ways God has chosen to tell us about himself. [Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, 1.233]
And all of this has a few implications.
One is that every human being is, every moment of their existence, receiving information about God. Both in the world around us (which is part of God’s creation) and in our very hearts (which is also part of God’s creation), God is speaking and making himself known. We may suppress that truth – we may try drowning out that speech with other noise – but it’s still there.
As the Belgic Confession puts it, the “universe is before our eyes like a beautiful book in which all creatures, great and small, are as letters to make us ponder the invisible things of God.” [Article 2]
Rightly understood, every aspect of creation speaks about who God is. This is the implication of what we have just heard from Romans 1 and Psalm 19.
One writer puts it like this: “Matter is never just matter. Dirt is never just dirt, butterflies are never just butterflies, and flesh is never just flesh. All were created by God. As such, all communicate something about God. Everything in the universe – every star, every tree, every body – proclaims some truth about its Maker. They are all […] a metaphor. They are all a revelation. Every atom in the universe is pregnant with mystery, pregnant with grace, capable of helping man discover the truth about himself and God.” [Stimpson, 14-15]
Creation, in so many ways, speaks of who God is.
Of course, sometimes we struggle to hear creation rightly. Sometimes we miss the meaning that is within creation. Sometimes we need God’s help to see more clearly what he has spoken in creation.
And in his mercy, God has given us that help that we often need. God has spoken in the Bible – the Christian Scriptures. There we see God even more clearly, and having seen God more clearly in his Word, we can turn back to creation again, and see what he has written there more accurately as well.
In that way, God’s special revelation and his general revelation are mutually reinforcing. Creation points to the God of the Bible. But then, as we read the Bible itself, and we see what it reveals so clearly about God, when we look back at creation, we see creation anew, and we see even more clearly how it points to God – we see how only the God of the Bible could truly explain how the world we live in is the way that it is.
And so we don’t just read the Bible in light of what we have read in creation, but we also reread creation in light of what God tells us about himself in the Bible.
And one thing that God tells us clearly about himself in the Bible is that he is a Trinity: he is one God, but three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. That is a key point in the verses we heard earlier from Matthew. To be baptized into the name of the one true God is to be baptized into the three persons who are God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Across various passages of the Bible we learn how each person of the Trinity is fully God from all eternity, but there is only one God, and that God has existed this way from all eternity. We know this only because God told us – he spoke it in his Word to us in the Bible.
And once we hear that truth, spoken to us by God in Scripture … it should cause us to “re-read” creation. And when we do, a number of things, that might previously have seemed confusing, should click into place.
Now, my goal this morning is not to focus on sets of three that we find in creation, or anything like that. Rather, my goal this morning is for us to reflect together on how implications of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity make sense of the world we find ourselves in.
It’s kind of like a good M. Night Shyamalan movie … or a good mystery story. In these kinds of stories, a number of things happen … but we usually find ourselves struggling to make sense of them. The facts may seem at first like a bunch of fragmented and disconnected events – we don’t see how one relates to the other – and the inner workings of it all are something of a mystery to us. In the beginning or the middle of the story we may try to come up with theories of what’s going on – of why various things are happening or have happened – but all of our theories tend to lean heavily on some of the facts of the story … but then to exclude other facts of the story. Our theories don’t seem to fit with all we’ve been told.
But then we get towards the end of the story, and a key fact is revealed to us. And suddenly, everything begins to make sense – the events and facts that seemed disconnected or random we now can see as linked and related. And often, we want to go back and re-read or re-watch the story with this new information to see it all again – to see it now aright.
When it comes to understanding the world in which we live … the Trinity is like that fact that is revealed later in the story, and that suddenly makes sense of many things that had previously seemed fractured or disconnected. And so, when we consider the Trinity, among other things, it should lead us to go back and re-read the world we live in, in light of the Triune nature of the God who made it.
I want to do a little of that this morning.
And as I do, I’ll be drawing heavily this morning from Christopher Watkin’s recent book Biblical Critical Theory¸ as he explores these questions in an early chapter.
And taking his lead, we’ll focus on four aspects of what it means for God to be Triune. We’ll consider how:
- God is personal,
- God is absolute,
- God is relational, and
- God is love.
We’ll consider each of those aspects of God, and then how they each make sense of the world we live in.
God is Personal
First, the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity tells us that God is personal.
Many modern people might say that they believe in God … but the god that they confess is a vague, featureless, and largely impersonal being. That God more resembles a force or a power at work in the universe, rather than a God who possesses a unique personality.
But the Trinity contradicts such a view. The Trinity says that God is personal – even that God is tri-personal.
And the personal nature of God is very clear if you read the Bible. There are many things people can disagree about when it comes to understanding the God of the Bible – but if you read the Bible, you cannot say that the God it portrays is a vague impersonal force. The Bible is emphatic that the God it presents to us is personal. And that comes out even stronger in the Bible’s later teaching that God consists of three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
And the personal nature of God has deep implications not just for who God is, but also for the nature of the world we live in. It sets the Christian worldview apart from many other ways of viewing reality.
Because it means that at root, reality is personal. Christopher Watkin puts it like this – he writes: “There have been many candidates in the history of philosophy for the most basic, original reality. When we follow all the causal chains back to their origin, or at least as far back as we can go, what do we find staring us in the face? When we dig down to the bedrock of reality, deeper than everything else, what does our spade strike against? The pre-Socratic philosophers […] are famous for suggesting […] that everything is fundamentally made of water, [or] an unlimited substance, or air. Many scientists today think that, to the extent that we can talk about a ‘most fundamental’ level at all, it may be composed of strings, wave-packets, quantum fields, or simply mathematics generated by an original big bang. / But what about the Bible? The Bible’s answer is as revolutionary as it is brief: ultimate, original reality is the personal God. […] Personalness goes all the way down and all the way back.” [Watkins, 35]
As John Frame puts it, if everything that exists, is the creation of a person – of our tri-personal God – then the personal is “what the universe is really all about.” [Frame, ST, 38; see also Frame, DCL, 20, 402]
And we need to recognize that this claim – that this consequence of the doctrine of the Trinity, that reality is fundamentally personal – has serious implications for how we view the world. To name just two: it has implications for the dignity of persons, and for the study of persons. In other words, it means there is deep value in human beings, and real value in the study of the humanities.
First, the personal nature of God, and therefore of creation, means that human beings, as persons, have profound dignity and value. And that is not a claim that those who believe the universe is fundamentally impersonal can clearly make.
Watkins, again, puts it like this – he writes: “If personalness is something that just happened to emerge somewhere along the evolutionary line and that, who knows, will perhaps disappear again sooner or later, then persons are like waves on the ocean: temporary configurations with certain […] characteristics but no lasting cosmic significance.” In other words, if the personal is just a fluke temporary occurrence, then the personal has no more value than the impersonal. If matter and energy combine to form a person in one place, and a rock in another place, on what basis would we say that the person has any more value than the rock, if this is a universe where the impersonal is the fundamental nature of reality? [Watkins, 36]
On the other hand … if the personal is the fundamental nature of reality, then persons have profound worth and dignity that goes far beyond the impersonal. Which means that all human life has dignity and value. [Watkins, 36-37]
On a gut level, most people know, deep down, that that is true: that human beings – that the personal – have great value, far beyond the impersonal. And the Christian view of God – as a God who is fundamentally personal – explains why that is.
The personal nature of God, as described by the Trinity, explains why human beings have value.
And as the doctrine of the Trinity explains the value of human beings, it’s worth noting that it also explains the value of the humanities.
In a culture that takes an impersonal view of reality, the study of the impersonal – of things like science and math – can be greatly valued … but at the same time the humanities – the study of the literature, philosophy, and the arts – these fields can often be devalued.
Now, the STEM fields do have great value in a Christian worldview – and I’ll say more about that in a moment. But so do the humanities. If God is personal, and if the creation he has made is fundamentally personal, then as creatures, made by a personal God, living in his personal creation, understanding what it means to be a person must be at least as important as understanding other aspects of the universe we live in. And it’s through the humanities that we explore the deep mystery of what it means to be human – to be a person.
If we neglect the humanities, we don’t get a clearer view of the world we live in, but we instead begin to develop a worldview with huge blind spots, because we miss a foundational aspect of reality.
Most of us feel that the humanities: that storytelling in various forms, and the creative endeavors to better grasp what it means to be human – most of us feel in our guts that those efforts have value, that they are not merely diversions or distractions. And the personal nature of God explains those intuitions. Because God is personal, and because he has made the world in a way that is personal, our exploration of what it means to be a person has value and significance.
And so, one thing we learn from the Trinity is that God is personal. And that means that reality is fundamentally personal, and all persons have value worthy of respect and deeper understanding.
That’s one thing we learn as we consider the Trinity.
God is Absolute
A second thing we learn from the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity is that God is absolute.
If people today, in our secular culture, are more likely to view God as impersonal, then people in the ancient world were often more likely to view the gods as personal … but as finite and limited.
In contrast with this, the doctrine of the Trinity tells us that the Triune God is not only personal, he is also absolute. By saying he’s absolute, we mean that the Triune God of the Bible is “self-sufficient, not relying on anything outside himself for his existence,” and he cannot be broken down into “parts” or components. The Triune God is not dependent on any other aspect of reality, but he himself is the absolute ground of all of existence.
That tells us a lot about God. But, again, it also tells us a lot about the world we live in. Because it means that there is a fundamental basis for the stability and consistency of the universe we live in.
It means that physical laws exist as they do because there is a Lawgiver. And those laws are consistent because the Lawgiver who holds them in place is absolute, stable, and consistent himself.
And that too has implications for how we engage the world around us.
We said a moment ago that because God is personal, the personal aspects of life have value: human beings have dignity, and the humanities have great worth.
At the very same time, because God is absolute, and because he is the stable foundation in which our world is rooted, that means that reality is objectively grounded, and the sciences have worth and value.
The personalness of God means that the subjective aspects of life matter deeply. But the absoluteness of God means that world we live in is also objective: there is objective truth, which can be known by us, and which we are called to live in accordance with.
It’s for that reason that we can have confidence that true truth both exists and is accessible to us. And it’s for that reason that we can have confidence in the study of science, and math, and engineering, and the development of technology – because God is absolute, and he provides creation with a stable nature rooted in his being.
And so the doctrine of the Trinity tells us that God is absolute, and therefore the world we live in is stable, objective, and consistent.
That’s a second important implication of the Trinity for our lives. [This point is drawn from Watkins, 37-41]
God is Relational
Third, the biblical doctrine of the Trinity tells us that God in inherently relational – that relationships are part of who he is.
If God were unipersonal, if he were originally just one person, then relationships would not be an inherent part of God, but something secondary that was added to him later on, after he made things, and began to relate to them.
But if God is tri-personal – if he is a Trinity – then relationships are foundational to who God is. [Watkins, 41]
And so, because we believe we have a Trinitarian God – a God who is fundamentally relational – it should not surprise us that we live in a highly relational creation – a creation in which all things exist in relationship to other things. [Watkins, 42]
I was away the past two weeks – my family and I traveled back East to see our families in New York. And one of the things we got to do while there was to take a trip to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. We only got to spend a few hours there, but I think I could easily spend a few days there. Rightly seen, the aspects of creation that are on display there should lead to awe, and wonder, and worship. Because, as the psalmist says, every one of them pours out speech about God.
But one of the things (among many) that I was struck by as I visited there, was how relational all of creation is. All things in creation exist in relationship to other things. Think about it, for a moment.
We live on this planet. But this planet does not stand alone. It exists, in so many important ways, in relationship to the Sun. It also exists in relationship to the moon, which determines the tides and many other things. But the Sun at the center of things doesn’t stand independent either. It exists in a certain location based on its relationship to the Milky Way galaxy. And in the Milky Way galaxy, the mass of each star and each body relates to others, to create a center of gravity around which each star revolves. As we zoom out, into the cosmos, we see that all things exist in relationship to others.
But the same is also true as we zoom in. There we see protons, neutrons, and electrons, held in place in relationship to one another as atoms, which are related to each other in molecules, which relate to each other making up the materials and substances of the world.
And actually, we don’t even need a telescope or a microscope to see the relational nature of creation. It’s all around us. Here on earth, tectonic plates relate to one another making up the surface of our world. Water, land, and air; currents, jet streams, and water cycles, all around us, even in unliving aspects of creation, we see a world of relationships. And the relational nature of all things becomes even more clear as we turn to the living world.
There we see living organisms relating not just to the non-living aspects of the world, but we also see living organisms relating to one another. We find plants that depend on insects and animals to pollinate them and spread their seeds, just as we find insects and animals dependent on plants for food and life. We see animals in relationship to one another in all sorts of ways: we see relationships between individual organisms, we see relationships across species, and even across biological kingdoms.
Some of you will know that my middle daughter, Rosie, loves bugs. And so it should not surprise you that though we had limited time at the Museum of Natural History on our trip, we found ourselves spending a portion of that time in the museum’s new “Insectarium.”
And so, let me take a few minutes right now, to tell you about leafcutter ants. Just bear with me on this. Because the Museum of Natural History in New York City has one of the world’s largest displays of live leafcutter ants – with somewhere around half a million ants in the colony on display.
Leafcutter ant colonies are divided into casts, with different groups of ants performing different functions. The mediae ants are the foragers. They go out and they cut leaves and gather leaf fragments to bring them back to the nest. As they do, the minors – another cast of ants – patrol and defend the foraging columns, protecting the mediae ants as they do their work. Then, once the leaf cuts are brought into the nest, the ants of the minim cast process the leaf clippings within the colony. As all this happens, the cast of major ants protects the colony as a whole. In this way, the colony exists as a network of relationships between hundreds of thousands, or even millions of ants. Each one lives and works embedded in relationships to the others – so much so that the colony itself is sometimes spoken of as a “superorganism.” An ant from such a colony could not survive long on its own, but they are each clearly designed for relationship with one another. And it’s a striking thing to see in action.
But the relational nature of creation revealed in such a colony of leafcutter ants is not limited to the ants themselves. Because the leafcutter ants don’t actually eat the leaves they cut and bring to the colony. Leafcutter ant larvae live off of a specific kind of fungus, which the adult ants cultivate within their nests. Those clippings of leaves that they spend so much time and effort to gather … they gather them in order to feed them to the fungus. The minim cast of ants receive the leaf clippings, and then they bring them to the fungus gardens within their colony. The ants tend those gardens, feeding the fungus with fresh plant material, keeping the fungus clean of pests and molds – which they’re able to do in part by depending on a special bacterium that grows on the ants’ bodies, and that secretes antimicrobial chemicals that benefit the fungi.
The fungus depends on the ant colony to survive. The ant colony depends on the fungus. Both depend on the bacteria that grows on the ants. And the whole system is dependent on the plants that provide the leaves. In these tiny ant tunnels, relationships are woven between four different kingdoms of biological life.
Now why on earth am I talking about this?
Here’s why: If the God who made the world were unipersonal – if God were not fundamentally relational, but was just a unitary person – then when God made a creation that spoke of who he is, we would expect to see a creation characterized by uniformity and solitary independence. We would expect the creation to be uniform and un-relational, just as such a god is uniform and un-relational.
But that’s not what we see. That kind of God – a solitary, unipersonal God – does not make sense with the universe we actually live in. Instead, our world only makes sense as the work of a God who is inherently relational because he has built relationships into absolutely everything here.
We see that all around us in nature – and we could go on and on with examples, far beyond just ants.
But we also see it – we especially see it – in the human world.
Just about every aspect of our lives – who we are, where we came from, what we do, what our hopes and dreams are – is deeply rooted in relationships. We come from other people, and they make up our DNA and shape our personality, even if we never meet them. We are shaped by the people we grow up around – at home, in classrooms, in neighborhoods, and churches, and all sorts of places. We live our lives in families, and friendship groups, and workplaces, and churches, and organizations, and towns, and nations – each of which is, at heart, a network of relationships.
When God made the first human being – a solitary human being – he said, “it is not good that the man should be alone.” [Genesis 2:18a] God there declared the fundamentally relational nature of human life.
And that makes sense, because though all creation speaks of God, humanity bears God’s image. In Genesis 1 we read that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
Humanity bears God’s image. And the God whose image we bear is relational. Which means that we were made to be in relationship with others – that is part of how we reflect the image of God.
And so, because the world has been made by a relational God, we should not be surprised that the world in general, and human life in particular, are highly relational.
That’s the third thing we learn from the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity.
So … the biblical doctrine of the Trinity tells us that God is personal, God is absolute, and God is relational. And so it’s fitting that the world we find ourselves in is personal, is relational, and is rooted in absolute truth.
God is Love
Fourth and finally, the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity tells us that God is love.
We’ve said that the Trinity means that there is an eternal relationship between the three persons of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
But relationships can take many forms. And if we’re going to know who God is – if we’re going to know the nature of the God who made us this world, then we need to ask: What are those relationships between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit like?
Watkins puts it like this – he writes: “Relationships can be distant or intimate, explosive or cool, complex or formulaic. What sort of relationship, then, characterizes the persons of the Trinity?” He answers with this – he says: “If we cast an eye over the verses in the Bible referring to God’s activity before creation, we see that intra-Trinitarian relations are characterized consistently not by discord, competition, or rivalry, much less by apathy or a functional focus on just ‘getting things done,’ but by love. This means that we live in a universe in which love, as the Bible understands it, is fundamental and original.” [Watkins, 46]
The Biblical doctrine of the Trinity tells us not just that God is capable of love, or even that God is loving, but that God is love. [1 John 4:8] Love is fundamental to who God is from all eternity, because before the creation of the world, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, lived in an eternal relationship of perfect love.
And if the God who is love made this world, then love must also be fundamental and foundational to this world.
Again, on some level we know this in our bones. We know that where love is present, things are the way they are supposed to be. And we know that when love is absent, things in this world are not the way they’re supposed to be.
Yet … despite the fact that we know this in our bones, the worldviews that are given the most credibility in our secular culture usually tell us that love is an odd anomaly in this world. Many modern people espouse a view of the world in which creation came into being not by love but by violence … in which life advanced not through love but through harsh competition … and in which human life is fundamentally a war of all against all.
In such a world, love is an odd intruder into the normal course of events, which are normally callous, harsh, and self-seeking. We may like the idea of love, but it doesn’t really belong in this world.
But we know that’s not true. And the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity explains why. It tells us that God is love … that he created this world out of the overflow of his love … and that love is the way things are supposed to be in this world. When we love one another, we do not bring an alien concept into a hostile universe, but rather, when we love one another, we live out how things are meant to be – we restore this world in some small way to the Maker’s intention for it.
The fact that the Triune God is love explains to us who God is. It explains to us how the world is meant to work.
But third and finally, the fact that the Triune God is love explains why we can relate to God at all.
The Bible tells us that God made humanity right and good. But we have rebelled. We have sinned. We have disobeyed God and we have brought brokenness and death into this world God has made. We have defiled his good creation.
And yet … the Bible tells us that still this God wants to know us and be in a relationship with us. It tells us that God the Father has chosen us, that God the Son has come in the flesh, and to die for our sins, and that God the Holy Spirit has sought us out. And it tells us that our Triune God did all this so that we might be saved, and so that we might enter into a right relationship with him for all eternity.
Why God would do all this – why he would save us – is, on some level, incomprehensible to us. It’s beyond our finding out. It’s so far from what we deserve.
But to the extent that we can understand why God would do this, the answer lies in the reality that from the beginning, from all eternity, at the heart of his being, the Triune God of the Bible is love.
And in the gospel, he has extended that love to us in an astounding way.
The gospel itself is rooted in the Triune, loving nature of God.
The Biblical doctrine of the Trinity explains to us who God is. It explains to us who we are. It explains to us the nature of the world we live in.
And it reveals the heart of the gospel.
And so, let us rejoice this morning, in the Triune nature of our magnificent God.
This sermon draws on material from:
Bavinck, Herman. Reformed Dogmatics. Edited by John Bolt. Translated by Jon Vriend. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003-2008 (volumes 1-4)
Frame, John. The Doctrine of the Christian Life. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2008.
Frame, John. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2013.
Grabill, Stephen, in For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles, 2015, Episode 5: “Wisdom”.
Stimpson, Emily. These Beautiful Bones: An Everyday Theology of the Body. Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2013.
Watkin, Christopher. Biblical Critical Theory: How the Bible’s Unfolding Story Makes Sense of Modern Life and Culture. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2022.
Note: In my preaching I often cite and draw from a range of sources, which includes material from Christians within my theological tradition, Christians outside my theological tradition (in keeping with our church’s core value of “Reformed Catholicity”), and also (following the Apostle Paul’s example in Acts 17) non-Christians who are well outside of Christian orthodoxy and orthopraxy. And so, when I cite an author or a source, that citation should not be understood or construed as me necessarily agreeing with, endorsing, or recommending to others anything else from that author or source, except for what I explicitly say I agree with, endorse, or recommend. When engaging with different materials and thinkers, all Christians must exercise wisdom and discernment to determine what is helpful, appropriate, and edifying for each person, taking into account their current needs, wisdom, and spiritual maturity.
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