Picture Credit: some rights reserved by jimforest
The importance of the Trinity for Christianity cannot be overstated. The Christian doctrine of God defines our faith more than any other doctrine. A particular aspect of Christian evangelism and practice, that of apologetics, will be my focus here. The importance of the Trinity for Christian apologetics is likely greater than we realise.
In a recent conversation with a Muslim colleague, I maintained that our God is triune, to which she exclaimed “No he’s not. God is One. If there is more than one God then there would be war within God.” There’s a big conversation which flows from that statement, which I cannot go into. Some people would say that me raising the Trinity in an evangelistic conversation with a Muslim is apologetic suicide. In this context, it surely wasn’t. Why? Because the doctrine of the Trinity makes it abundantly clear to our fellow theists that the Christian God is not the same God as their Allah.
Likewise, when discussing who God is with a postmodern pantheist (who would reject the labels because labels are oppressive and not postmodern), I think it wise to raise the Trinity early on in the conversation. And not to get into a deep discussion about how it works, but mainly about who He is. Who is our Triune God? He is not one and the same as the world, that’s for sure.
The Trinity is highly useful in apologetic conversations, because there is no god like our God. We should not capitulate to the spirit of the age and say “Yes, of course all of our conceptions of god are ultimately valid and the same.” That is a lie. The fact that our God is triune makes that abundantly clear. To make this distinction saves us from wandering down a dangerous labyrinth with our unbelieving friends, and it saves them from thinking that all is well with their beliefs. The doctrine of the Trinity confronts everyone with the stark and dangerous truth that our God is three persons, and one God. When we are trying to convince someone of the truth of Christianity, we must ensure that they understand who our God is. We are defending and propagating the Christian faith, after all.