Essentials of Wesleyan Theology - Lesson 5

Trinity (Part 1/2)

God the Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian faith and life. It requires us to have faith because it is beyond what we can understand. Augustine’s psychological analogy of the Trinity stresses the oneness of God by comparing him to the process of knowing, which involves memory, understanding and will. The social analogy comes from the eastern church and uses, “father,” “mother,” and “child” to stress the “threeness of God. The Christian worldview says that their reality is based on differentiated unity without fragmentation. It’s relational. (Ppt 2 slides 59-79)

Steve Seamands
Essentials of Wesleyan Theology
Lesson 5
Watching Now
Trinity (Part 1/2)

I. Introduction to the Trinity

A. Definition and Importance

B. Scriptural Basis

II. Historical Development of the Trinity Doctrine

A. Early Church Controversies

B. Councils and Creeds

III. Understanding the Trinity

A. Three Persons, One God

B. Distinctions and Relations

IV. The Trinity in Wesleyan Theology

A. John Wesley's Emphasis

B. Practical Implications

  • By studying the Essentials of Wesleyan theology, you learn about its historical roots, key principles, and the importance of grace, holiness, and Christian perfection in this theological perspective.
  • Through this lesson, you gain a thorough understanding of Wesleyan theology, its tasks, key theological perspectives, and distinctives, providing you with a solid foundation for further exploration of the Wesleyan tradition.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into Wesleyan theology's goal of pursuing holiness through sanctification, understanding the three stages and the practical implications for discipleship, spiritual growth, and the church's role.
  • In this lesson, you explore the doctrine of God in Wesleyan theology, learning about His attributes, the Trinity, and His relationship with creation.
  • Through this lesson, you gain a deep understanding of the Trinity from a Wesleyan perspective, exploring its scriptural basis, historical development, and practical implications for Christian living.
  • This lesson deepens your understanding of the Trinity from a Wesleyan perspective, emphasizing its historical development, implications for Christian faith, and the significance of love and relationship within the Godhead.
  • Gain insight into Wesleyan theology's Doctrine of Creation, its biblical basis, and the practical implications it has on understanding God's sovereignty, human responsibility, and stewardship of creation.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insights into Wesleyan theology's understanding of Christ's person and work, exploring key concepts like the Incarnation, Atonement, and Second Coming.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into the incarnation of Jesus Christ, its dual nature, and its implications in revealing God's nature, redemption, atonement, and modeling holiness.
  • In this lesson, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the Cross of Christ in Wesleyan theology, exploring atonement theories, the scope and application of atonement, and its impact on the believer's life.
  • By studying the Cross of Christ Part 2, you gain insights into the theological concepts of the cross and the unique features of Wesleyan theology, ultimately learning how to apply these principles in your daily Christian life.
  • By examining the significance of the resurrection in Wesleyan theology, you gain insight into its foundational role in Christian faith, its connection to justification and sanctification, and its far-reaching theological implications for believers.

In this class on the Essentials of Wesleyan Theology, you explore the historical background and development of Methodism, its key doctrines, and the unique approach to Scripture that John Wesley promoted. You gain a deeper understanding of prevenient grace, justification, assurance, sanctification, and the concept of Christian perfection. Furthermore, you learn about Wesley's quadrilateral of authority, his emphasis on holiness, and the impact of Wesleyan theology on social reform, evangelism, and contemporary Christian thought and practice.

Dr. Steve Seamands
Essentials of Wesleyan Theology
Trinity (Part 1)
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:21] Well, we're talking about the Trinity that takes us back, in a sense, to this Trinitarian understanding of ministry that we've been unpacking a bit as we've begun each day. We've talked about how the ministry under which we've been called is actually not our ministry as much as it is an extension of the of the Ministry of the resurrected Lord Jesus in the world today. Yesterday, we focused on how, if that's the case, his ministry was primarily directed to the father. That was the audience of his ministry. That was the focus of his ministry and what that says to us. Now, this morning, just a little bit about that phrase through the Holy Spirit, because of course, it's through the Holy Spirit that we really do get connected to the ministry of Jesus. We can thank the Holy Spirit and adore the Holy Spirit for for making that connection. It's interesting, though, in Jesus own ministry, the significance of the Holy Spirit. His ministry doesn't really begin until the Spirit of the Lord comes upon him and the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descends on him like a dove. And all the accounts of his baptism in the different gospels make this very clear, don't they? In the last 50 to 75 years, theologians actually have been giving more. Emphasis on the relationship of the Holy Spirit to Jesus. So often, you know, in the past we've thought that he did everything sort of out of his inner inherent divinity. More. Now theologians are focusing on the fact that it was through the spirit, through the Spirit actually, that Jesus had in a sense, limited himself. And so he is dependent on the Holy Spirit, just as we are, and his ministry begins. And it's interesting, in John's account, John emphasizes that.

[00:02:26] John the Baptist saw the spirit coming upon him and and noticed that it not only came upon him, but it remained on him. And actually, in terms of the progression of new mythology from Old Testament to New Testament, that's a significant phrase that that the spirit remains on him, because generally in the Old Testament, the Spirit tends to come on people for special tasks and things that need to be done. But it tends to be impersonal and it tends to be kind of like the arm of the Lord accomplishing something through Gideon or Samson or just whatever. But now we have Jesus, the Spirit remaining on him. And of course, this is going to pave the way, isn't it, for the relationship we can have with the Holy Spirit. Not something that's just, you know, temporary. Here and there now and then for special occasions, but an ongoing relationship of the spirit. So the spirit remains on him. That's significant. When you think about the significance of the baptism of Jesus baptism and his relationship to the Holy Spirit, Colin Gunton in his book makes an interesting statement. He says that through his baptism, Jesus entered a new form of relationship with the Spirit. Maybe you've never thought much about that, but Jesus did have a relationship with the Holy Spirit prior to his baptism. He's conceived by the spirit, right? And yet Gunton suggests that something happens here. You might say, to deepen that relationship. I don't exactly know how to explain that. But something does happen and this launches his ministry. If you think about particularly in Luke's account of the baptism of Jesus, you think about, in a sense, a three fold result of this new form of relationship with the spirit kind of emerging.

[00:04:33] First of all, in the very baptism itself, when the Spirit comes upon him, he hears the voice, and the first thing that happens is that he has this profound awareness of his Sonship, the hears the father's voice saying, You're my beloved son, and whom I'm well pleased. A profound awareness of his sonship. And then what does he do immediately following his baptism? What is the spirit causing him to do? Oh, yeah. The spirit literally drives them into the desert to be tempted by the devil. What I see here in the temptation story is a passionate determination to do the will of the father. It's like the spirit drives him, you know, It's almost like, bring it on. What is the attempt to try to get Jesus to do, essentially? He tries to get him, in a sense, to presume upon his. Profound awareness of his Sonship and two of the Temptations. The first to remember if you're the Son of God. Turn these stones into bread. If you're the son of God. Jump down. In other words, he's trying to get him to presume. Okay. He's just been profoundly made aware. You're my beloved son and whom I'm well pleased. So there is a sort of a subtlety here. So Satan is saying, well, you you're the son of God, so you've got some rights, you know, and privileges. So why don't you exercise them? And what is really trying to get Jesus to do is to, in a sense, to do God's will. Turn stones into. Brad jumped down off the temple. Everyone will believe in you then. But actually to do God's will his own way. Not to walk the way of the cross. It's interesting that Oswald Chambers. In his discussion of this temptation story says that actually this is actually the central citadel in terms of the temptation that that comes from the life of the believer that what so often Satan tries to do with you and me.

[00:06:51] You know, we're committed to do the will of God. So that's not the issue, trying to get you not to do the will of God. You want to do the will of God, but you want to. But he tries to get us to do God's will our own way. That truly is, I think, a real issue and a temptation for us in Christian ministry. To do God's will our own way. So often I've learned in my pastoral ministry and in my ministry in general, it's just that often God gives you a vision for something. Put something in your heart and you kind of get a sense this is what God wants to do. But the timing of that. Sometimes what I've found is what God intends is for that to really be big, really to come to fruition in about three years. And I assume you know, Oh, I got it now. I'm supposed to do it right now. And so I try to make this happen. Instead of letting it happen. You know, there's a way of of trying to bring about God's will, but doing it violently. Pushing. You know. People out of the way took force forcing them. And I so I think that's a real temptation. And Jesus has this passionate determination to do the will of the father, but to get that to be done God's way. And I think about Hudson Taylor statement that when God's will is done God's way according to God's timetable, it will not lack for God's supply. You know, but getting that all. Together and and doing God's will. God's way is a is a temptation for us, isn't it? But you see this passionate determination in Jesus to do the will of the Father and to do it God's way.

[00:08:50] And to not avoid the way of the cross. And then finally he comes out of the desert. And in Luke's account, at least, he ends up in the synagogue at Nazareth. And Luke, Chapter four, he stands and says, The spirit of the Lord is upon me. To preach good news to the poor to set at liberty. Those who are abound. And you know that you know that text. So there's a mighty empowerment to fulfill the mission of the Messiah. A mighty empowerment. And it seems to me that the spirit. In our ministries, in a sense. Wants to do these things for us. As well as for Jesus, you know. What I was just simply saying is I think that these are things the spirit wants to do for each one of us, and these are all things I think, that are critical in. Our relationship with the spirit so that we do this Ministry of Jesus through the spirit. And of course, when we get to the Book of Acts, we kind of find this phrase filled with the spirit showing up all the time. It's almost as if for Luke. At least for Luke, at least. Rather than putting an emotive or some kind of a degree after somebody's name, as if that's what qualifies them, it's now so and so filled with the spirit. That phrase sometimes is used in a kind of a general way to just describe a person's relationship. Like Barnabas, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, a more kind of character way of describing a person. And then sometimes it's right at the moment of an act of power or courage or healing or something like that, where like Paul filled with the Holy Spirit. If you look at the 13 nine.

[00:10:52] That's right. Where that he casts a demon out of that girl. And this who keeps pestering him. You remember in, I think, his first missionary journey at one particular place. Sometimes it refers to those things, but it seems like what we find in the life of Jesus. Being filled with the spirit is what God desires for us in Christian ministry as well. And yet this is where a lot of folks go wrong, I think, in Christian ministry. Wesley Dual says that perhaps the greatest lack in most Christian leadership in ministry is this divine bestowal, the Spirit's empowerment. We're attempting to do God's work, depending only nominally. Upon God. But in fact, depending primarily on ourselves. Our training, our experience, our past experience, our knowledge and our sincere efforts. He goes on to say, Well, if you rely on training, you, you accomplish what training can do. If you rely on skills and hard work, you obtain the results that skills and hard work faithful work can do. When you're allowed committees, you get what committees can do. But when you rely on God, you get what God can do. God's work deserves our best. But God's work always needs his supernatural touch added to our human best. In our mission statement, our seminary mission statement. One of the things that we want to do is, is prepare and equip the spirit filled. Sanctified. Well trained persons. And so that spirit filled is a part of who we are. And I know that's a part of who the vineyard is. The baptism of the Spirit. Fulness of the spirit. Unfortunately, a lot of people do a ministry like this, don't they? You know, you can exert a lot of effort and. Sweat can be pouring off.

[00:13:01] You going back to Dan, you know, productive versus fruitful. You can be working really hard, but I really think God's way is more for us to be like sailboats than rowboats. And the wind of the spirit. Moves us along and our job is to learn how to catch the wind as it. Our job is to to know how to navigate the sailboat, as it were. God's job. Just to give us this Holy Spirit. If any of you had. Kind of a. Life changing. Experience with a spirit that kind of shifted your ministry. Or shifted you as a believer from kind of being a ro a rowboat type person to more of a sailboat type person. Yeah, we sort of have to come to the end of ourselves, don't we? Uh, and then, uh, when we're at the end of our ourselves, then God can do what he's been wanting to do all along. But, uh, that is the pattern, I think. I think you see that even in the lives of the disciples, you talk about a death of a virgin. You know, the Messiah gets crucified, even his resurrection. Well, that's neat. But he only shows up every so often. You know what? And. But there's a real death of a virgin there. We had thought. He was the one that was going to. Redeem Israel and put us at the center of things. And then, you know, Peter's crying out, Uh oh, saying, you know, everyone will deny you except me. And then when Jesus looks at him after his betrayal, you know that scene? Jesus looked in the cockroaches and he went out and wept bitterly. I think here's a man that's at the end of himself now. He's he's he's realizing.

[00:15:07] Yeah. Then the spirit comes. Because they're ready. I think it's interesting that Billy Graham. Understood the. Importance of the spirit in his own life and ministry. Is Stanley Jones, who kind of came out of our tradition at Asbury. I love the way he just kind of puts it succinctly that unless the Holy Spirit fills, the human spirit fails. Let's pray together. Thank you for your patience with us, Lord, and the way you work with us and take us where we are. And thank you for. Those moments when we do. Lay things down. And we look to you. And then you you come and you take all that we are and use it for your glory. And you work through us, through the power of your spirit. Come Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus. Send your spirit. Come upon us and. In some new area. Of our heart. Or perhaps you've never been able to really be in control. Holy Spirit, begin to open that up. Or in that area. That place. Fill us up. We need more and more of you. Take all this good learning that we're about. Don't let it become something that. We rely on. In the wrong way. But let it be something you can use. So we surrender it to you. We bless you, Lord. Thank you for bringing us together these days. Thank you for your faithfulness to us here. And we pray all these things in Jesus name. I that. Well, we were talking about. The Trinity and how the Trinity tells us that relationship is at the heart of reality. I don't know about you, but the Trinity tells me that the more I can understand that, the better off I am in ministry. Because I think our culture would say, would reduce everything to function.

[00:17:57] Introduces us to function in terms of how it defines us, in terms of how productive we are. But the Trinity says no relationship is at the heart of things. It's interesting in terms of relationship. Just if we had time, I could walk you through some passages in the Gospel of John, but I'm borrowing this from another theologian, and I've got a guy that wrote an interesting book and I can't even remember his name right now. But in looking at the relationships between the persons of the Trinity, particularly the father son relationship, there's a whole lot in the Gospel of John. He suggests that these four characteristics kind of show up If you study and reflect on the gospel of John particularly, you see full equality in terms of the persons of the Trinity and then you see glad submission. You know, Jesus says, I don't ever want to do anything except what I see the Father doing. What does the Holy Spirit do? The Spirit seeks to just glorify Christ. There's this willingness to to lay themselves down for one another. Joyful intimacy. And finally, mutual deference. That idea of deferring, do you understand what that's about? You know, when you defer to someone, it's like I actually have the right to do this. But I will defer to someone else. The father, in a sense, has the right to judge. But he gives that to the son. These four characteristics show up. I think it's interesting. I love Rublev icon of the Holy Trinity. In fact, I got to see this in Russia because it's there in Moscow. He was a 14th century Russian monk. This particular icon is an icon of the Trinity. It's it's based on an Old Testament story. Does anyone know the story that this.

[00:20:07] That this painting's based on? This icon's based on visitors? Yes. These are the three visitors that show up, and they announce the birth of Isaac. Remember Isaac was born about a year later. And of course, when Sarah hears that, that she laughs, You remember? And that's that's an interesting story. These are the three visitors. So he uses this story and the early church fathers again saw in that another one of those intimations of the Trinity in the Old Testament. You can see full equality there, can't you? The father's there on the left and the son in the middle and the spirit on the right. But you see, just in terms of their faces, the same face. Basically the same figure. You can't see it very well here, but they're dressed similarly. And each one of them holds a staff. You see the staff? It's just kind of a it's almost like a line there. But it's supposed to be a staff, which, again, symbolizes equal authority, equality of persons. Do you see glad submission. You remember in the Old Testament particularly, and even in the New Testament, a stiff necked person. Is prideful. Insisting on their own? Well, kind of, you know. And you see how their their heads are bowed to one another. You probably wouldn't get this just from looking at it. But you'll notice the hands of the of the three figures. The sun in the middle. You notice what he's pointing to? That is supposed to be in the chalice there. That's that's supposed to be lamb meat that's there. And the significance there is, you know, he's the lamb who's going to be slain. And he's pointing to that as if to say, that's what I'm going to do. And you can't see the father's hands too well there.

[00:22:17] But the father's hands are in a posture of blessing, the son and the spirit. You'll notice he's kind of pointing. His hands are pointing. You see that little hole there or that square that represents the kind of the opening to the world. The sun is going to die. So you have this emphasis on laying your life down there. Do you see any kind of joyful intimacy at all in this picture? There's communion, there's fellowship around a meal. There also seems to be a, you know, just in terms of the kind of way they're looking at each other. There seems to be a kind of an endearment or I see a kind of an affection for one another in their eyes. It's it's a table that that they're seated on. And actually there's a kind of a tree in the in the background which which represents the tree of life. This was painted in the late 1800s. So it's been around a while. You remember? They show up, Ishmael. Like 12 or 13. A year before Isaacs born, these three visitors show up and they announce to Abraham that he's going to have a son through Sarah. And Sarah, you remember here's overhears the conversation and she laughs. How's that going to happen? You know, I'm a 90 year old woman. What are you talking about? And then, of course, a year later, Isaac is born. That's the function that they play. And these are these were kind of angelic visitors that just sort of show up out of nowhere. The early church fathers saw a kind of again, a kind of an intimation of the Trinity here, because they're always reading the Bible backwards. Remember, you know, just like the let us make men in our image thing.

[00:24:30] And they saw that as an intimation of the Trinity. Someone else might draw a triangle or use some other kind of an analogy. This is more personal, isn't it? Because you've got human figures here. Obviously. These are human figures though, and in God's spirit and so forth. And but perhaps it's an it's a good it's a good way to do it based on a story, you know, which they understood as having some Trinitarian reference. Well, here's another. Image of the Trinity. This comes out of a church in. In Europe somewhere. I forget where I pulled this off. Off of. I think I. I think Liam Payne. You know Liam Payne at all in her ministry, out of our healing ministry. She had this in one of her newsletters, and I was struck by it. This is an attempt to show. The whole Trinity. Involved. In the cross. The Trinity not only underscores the relational characteristics of God, but self-giving and self-sacrifice. This glad surrender. The father gives the son. The son submits to the will of the Father and the spirit. You know, the Trinity tells us that that is in the heart of God. That is in the heart of God. C.S. Lewis. Puts it like this in his book, The Problem of Paying For in Self Giving. If anywhere, we touch a rhythm not only of all creation, but of all being. For the eternal word also gives himself in sacrifice. And that and that not only on Calvary. From before the foundation of the world. He surrenders begotten deity back to deity in obedience. He says from the highest to the lowest self exists to be abdicated. And by that abdication becomes more truly self. To be there a pawn yet more abdicated and so forever.

[00:26:42] What is outside the system of Self-giving is not earth nor nature, nor ordinary life, but simply and solely hell. Self-giving is at the heart of reality. Self-giving is in the heart of the Trinity and he's saying, and this may be something new that you've never thought about that actually we see Self-giving on the cross, don't we? We see the God love the world that he gave his only son. But what Lewis and others would tell us is that that doesn't begin. With the cross or even the incarnation. It's in the heart of God from all eternity. How are the persons of the Trinity self-actualized? How do they. You know. They. They're self-actualized. Not through self-assertion, but through self-denial. They give themselves away to one another. The father gives the son. The son surrenders to the Father. The Holy Spirit glorifies the Son. It's all it's. You know, pictures and any kind of metaphors tend to be right in what they affirm and wrong and what they deny. The strength of this one is that it won't let you separate the father and the son from Calvary, because sometimes we'll talk about this next go around. When we talk about the death of Christ, sometimes Jesus becomes the son becomes this innocent sort of third party over here, and the father's kind of wrathful you know, he's mad. And the sun takes the bad stuff. So you and I don't have to take the bad stuff. He gets his wrath sort of taken out on him so it doesn't have to be taken out on you. And Jesus becomes this sort of. Third party. But what we have to understand is that actually all the persons of the Trinity Act in concert and it's the fathers of the cross to.

[00:28:52] And that's the value I think, of this one. But you're right. You could if you could see this and sort of see a more of a subordination in that. So the Trinity tells us and teaches us that. Self-giving sacrificial self-giving is at the heart of the universe. If Stanley Jones says that. So self surrender is at the very heart of God. And is at the very heart of all his actions and attitudes. So when he asks us to surrender ourselves, he's asking us to fulfill the deepest thing in himself and the deepest thing in us. So when Jesus says, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself. Take up his cross and follow me. That's life in the Trinity. There's glad surrender, isn't there? That's going on. So Jesus is self-actualize not by his self assertion but by his self-denial. You don't find yourself by asserting yourself. According to the Trinity. But you find yourself by giving yourself away. I lay your life down. Not in a sort of forced doormat. Kind of forced sort of submission. That's not what we're talking about. It's a glad surrender, isn't it? There's a big difference there. Richard Neuhaus puts it like this only when I give up on the search for myself. In abandonment to another. To the other is my I reconstituted by the I to whom I surrender. I don't know about you, but I've discovered that I tend to. I find I'm really more me. When I'm surrendered to Christ. I'm more fully who I was created to be. And it's Galatians 220, isn't it? I've been crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live. Yeah, not I, but Christ lives in me. And that's Trinitarian. That experience of finding ourselves by dying to ourselves is actually the way it works within the Trinity.

[00:31:25] Which, of course, is totally alien. To what? A culture our culture would tell us and being all that we can be. Assert yourself. Go after it. Whatever. And this has implications for ministry, doesn't it? In his book The Cross of Christ, John Stott says that the place of suffering and service and passion and mission is hardly ever taught today. But the greatest single secret of evangelistic or missionary effectiveness is the willingness to suffer and die. Maybe death to popularity. By faithfully preaching the unpopular biblical gospel or the pride. By the use of modest methods in reliance on the Holy Spirit or to racial and national prejudice by identification with another culture or to material comfort by adopting a simple lifestyle. But he says what the servant must suffer. If he or she is to bring light to the nations and the seed must die if it is to multiply. The Trinity tells me that mystery. Is at the heart of things. The Trinity tells me that relationship is at the heart of things. The Trinity tells me that Self-giving love. Is at the heart of things. Is at the heart of reality. Two of those things. Relationship and self-giving love. You know, I think God's original theological seminary. Is the family. Isn't it in the family that. We're so sort of supposed to learn these things. Almost from infancy growing up. Relationship. The importance of relationships. How you have to think about. Others. Self-giving love. So it's fun to watch seminars. Students sometimes. Who come to school single. And get married while they're there. And have to learn about. Relationships. And how now? I can't answer that question until I talk to my spouse. You know, I don't just live for myself now. I live.

[00:34:07] I mean, I'm in relationship. Or others that have a a child while they're in school and now. They're getting up at three and four in the morning taking care. Of somebody Self-giving love it. You know, we learn these things in the family, don't you think? Just intuitively we should learn? About reality. That's why I think the assault on marriage and family. He is such a devastating thing. Because that's where folks are supposed to learn these things, regardless of whether they're believers or not even. They can learn about these things. The last point about the Trinity that I would just simply like to have you think a little bit about is that. The Trinity tells us that you might say mission and going out of yourself to others kind of is at the heart of reality. Juergen Maltman says that. The Trinity is an open, not a closed circle. An open, not a closed circle. He says the Trinitarian circle cannot be conceived as a closed circle symbol of perfection and self-sufficiency. But he says the Trinity is open for its own sending open in order that it may make itself open. Open to man. Open to the world and open to time. So what we're talking about here is the fact that the father. Moves out, you might say, in generating the sun that we call this the father's begotten. He begets the son. And then you've got this. You also have a movement out. The Holy Spirit proceeds the two hands of God. Someone said, But then so you've got the sending, and then the Holy Spirit sends the church, you know, and it just keeps on going. There's an outward movement. We're going to talk about creation and just a little bit later this morning.

[00:36:31] Why is it that the Holy Spirit and the Father and the Son don't just sort of. Enjoy each other's company and leave it at that. You might say. Why a world? Why a creation? What we're suggesting here is there's there's this movement. It starts in the Trinity and it overflows and it keeps it. There's this openness, this movement, outward. Paul Stevens says not only does the father send the son and the father and the son send the spirit, but the father, son and spirit send the church into the world. So mission is the sending of God from first to last. Mission is God's own going forth truly in ecstasies. You know that word ecstasy. We get our word. Stashes in Greek act means out of and Stathis means to stand. So this idea of standing outside of yourself, you're kind of when you have an ecstatic experience you kind of. Transcend yourself. You know that idea? Well, that's what he's meaning. Their mission is is God's own going forth. He is send or sent and sending. What's the basis of of Christian mission that. Why do we go? Maybe you're familiar with this. There was a time when generally we went because. Well, Jesus told us to go the Great Commission, right? Or then said then folks said, Well, actually it starts with Abraham. Remember the call of Abraham? God says that I'm going to bless you to be a blessing to all the nations. But actually even going back to Abraham doesn't go back far enough. Doesn't the Trinity tell us? That mission is in the heart of God. Mission should not be seen as something you talk about when you get to ecclesiology the nature of the church. You know, we're sent, but it actually is rooted now in the doctrine of God himself, which is the Trinity.

[00:39:05] So there's a sense in which if you get connected to God, you cannot help but be missional. It's like you're going to get caught up in a movement. That sends you. In the Book of Acts, in a sense, isn't the book of acts. You get this from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria to the ends of the earth. But the disciples are just kind of caught up in this movement, aren't they? That's really not theirs. It's. It's the spirits moving. And sometimes they get almost drug along. Such as in the case of Peter and the story of Cornelius. And, you know, it's like the spirit's moving out there and he's just catching up with the spirit. I have to confess that. The ministry that I was trained for. 30 years ago taught me to be a good frog. As opposed to being a lizard. What's the difference between the way a typical frog and a lizard gather food? I was sort of trying to be a good frog. You know, you be a pastor and. And you kind of run the church and watch over. And when new folks, new comers come along, we welcome them. But, you know, if you build it, they will come kind of mentality. That's tended to be the way the church has functioned in the West since Constantine. You know, ever since we became sort of the official church religion, then, you know, you just came to the church. But I really think that we're supposed to be lizards, not frogs, because a lizard would would starve to death if he waited around. He goes where the food is, right? So this missional impulse is in the heart of God. It sends us. It sends us. We have a and will more.

[00:41:30] A couple of. Statues of a couple of our local heroes. You see John Wesley there on the right. He's right on our campus there behind our library and so forth. He's preaching in the open air. And then anyone recognize that guy on the left there? That's Francis Astbury. And of course, our institution is named after him. He was the great circuit rider riding bishop of early Methodism back in the first decades of the 19th century. And I drive by Frances Jasper every day on my way to the school, and I see John Wesley. Sometimes I find myself talking to him. Oh, he's a pretty good conversation. He's a good listener, you know. But I like these two particular statues in that both of them show these guys in, you might say missional. Engagement. You know, John Wesley was an Oxford. Graduate. He was a very sort of finicky guy, concerned about dressing just right. And he he preferred a quiet library. A year after his experience. Or his heart was strangely warmed at ultra scape. Less than a year afterwards, he found himself for the first time in his life, preaching in the open air. If you're anything about the way things functioned in England back then, that's not just the way you did it. You preached inside a church and behind the pulpit. But he said at four in the afternoon, get this phrase, I submit it to be more vile. And proclaimed in the highways the glad tidings of salvation, and he found something driving him. And that's how he began to engage the poor and the disenfranchized. We mean by violent? Less sophisticated. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, this is not what I would want to do. This is not, you know, you know, you're saying I submit it to be more vile because people this was considered to be kind of vile.

[00:44:01] No upstanding Anglican preacher. Would do this sort of thing. He came to the United States? Yes, in actually in the early 1730s. This was prior to his heart warming experience at Aldersgate came over. He was very sincerely seeking to follow after God, but he really. You know his heart. He's really into a kind of a salvation by works mode. That experience in Georgia for West, I was very it was a big failure. And he finally had to leave. He got into some trouble. He he was an Anglican priest. And he he was really strict and wouldn't let some people come to communion. And and anyway, they they came after him and he had to he had to leave because of some things he did. And it was a big failure. And that failure actually led him to a point where he began to seek out. Some. Help and realize something wasn't right in his relationship with God. Anyhow, he started hanging out with the group call them Arabians out of Germany, and they were the ones that began to teach him about justification by faith alone, not by works. And that was really what happened a year before the altar scale. They were actually on the boat going both ways. And he saw in these Moravian a piece, you know, when there were these terrible storms at sea on the Atlantic. They had a peace and an assurance. He realized he didn't have that. Well, he in the 1770s or so, some Methodists came to the U.S. some lay what they called lay pastors, and they began to form societies. And then this this other guy. They were Anglicans. What happened? Methodism was originally a renewal movement within Anglicanism. It was like they were still Anglicans, but they went to this Methodist group.

[00:46:21] Well, this guy was sent over by Wesley in the 1780s. Francis Astbury And he was the one that really pioneered the growth of and he spent 250,000 miles on the back of a horse. On the American frontier in about the year 1815 or so, he would have been recognized by more people than George Washington or or Thomas Jefferson would have because he was out there. He slept in more homes. And you have an amazing guy. But it's interesting that in this this is the statue and Wilmore he's he's leaving town which is kind of symbolic, is significant. He's got two institutions named after him and Wilmore the college and at a seminary and the rear end of the horse is is pointed to the two institutions and he's leaving you know but I think that's what the way he would have it. As he said, I'm willing to travel and preach as long as I live, and I hope I shall not live long after I'm unable to travel, live or die. I'm a ride. He's always out there. And he he he he, in a sense, challenges me from Rainer, come shine. You know, I see that last about a year ago, we had a real bad ice storm and I thought, Well, I wonder if Francis is still out there. And so I went out and took some pictures of him. And he's still out there. My point is simply to say that. When we. Get caught up in God. We get caught up in emotional impulse, don't we? It sends us forth. It sends us out. And that's at the heart of God. And that's at the heart of it. That's at the heart of the Trinity.