I come from a background in which I frequently felt misrepresented. There are many LDS teachings that are not understood by the majority of Christians. But as much as Mormons cry out for fair representation of their beliefs, there is at least one Evangelical Christian belief that I see misrepresented by most Mormons who attempt to refute/explain it: the doctrine of the Trinity.
Many Mormons think they understand it, and some actually get close (I count my father and brother-in-law among them). Most have a stack of canned responses with chapter and verse to show that the Trinity is an absurd belief. What they do not realize is that many Evangelicals use the same verses to prove the Trinity.
The baptism of Jesus is one of the passages in the New Testament that validates the doctrine of the Trinity — the three-in-one personhood of God. The Father speaks from heaven, the Spirit descends as a dove, and the Son obeys, perfectly pleasing the Father (vv. 16-17). Even though the word trinity never appears in Scripture, there is ample evidence of this truth, including the Great Commision in Matthew 28:19-20 where Jesus’ followers are commanded to baptize new believers in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Can you find other places in the New Testament where the three persons of the Godhead are mentioned together?
I can’t tell you how many times on my LDS mission I used the story of Jesus’ baptism to refute the Trinity. Here we see an Evangelical writer using those very verses to show that Trinitarianism is consistent with scripture. How does this square with reality? I was hoping you’d ask that.
Over the next few weeks I hope to continue this series with a thorough and proper explanation of the Trinity. I hope it will help a few Mormons understand the doctrine a little more clearly so as to avoid misrepresenting others’ beliefs in the future.
- For some reason, the insight box isn’t shown in the online version of Our Daily Bread. It only appears in the printed pamphlet version. [↩]