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Does It Matter Which Person of the Trinity We Pray to?
Christian Post ^ | 11/14/2012 | John Piper

Posted on 11/14/2012 9:33:31 AM PST by SeekAndFind

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

Does it matter which Person of the Trinity we pray to? Yes, I think it matters. But being wrong about doesn't mean that it's in the category of damnable sin and maybe not even in the category of sin at all.

The Holy Spirit is sent into the world, according to John 16, to glorify the Son. And he glorifies the Son by leading us to the Son and causing us to see the Son as the ground for our access to the Father. The Son came to die for our sins in order to bring us to God. So the pattern that you find almost uniformly-I say almost uniformly-throughout the New Testament is to pray to the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. So we're said to pray "in the Spirit" in Ephesians 6:18. "Pray in the Spirit."

"Pray in the name of Jesus," I think means "on the basis of what Jesus has done to make our access to God possible," namely his blood and righteousness. So when I say, "In Jesus' name" at the end of a prayer, I mean "because Jesus died for me and rose again, covered my sins, and imparted and imputed righteousness to me, I have access to the Father." "Because of him"-that's what "In Jesus' name" means.

I know of no example or encouragement to pray... No, no, no. That's not true. I was going to say, "to pray to the Holy Spirit." But "Come Holy Spirit" is not an evil prayer to the Holy Spirit. "Come Holy Spirit."

But if you got into the habit of praying to the Holy Spirit all the time-"You're my Benefactor. I pray to you"-you would be out of sync with the pattern of the New Testament.

So my bottom line answer-and I've been asked this a lot-is to follow in general the pattern of the Bible, namely, pray to the Father in the name of Jesus by the power of the Spirit, that is, in reliance upon the help of the Spirit.

But, from time to time, "Maranatha! Lord Jesus, come!" is not a bad prayer. And "Holy Spirit, fall upon us and grant us a fresh baptism" is not a bad prayer.

So, in general, pray to the Father; but occasionally, to express their Personhood and your own love for them, telling the Spirit and the Son that you love them and that you would like them to come in fullness is a good thing.


TOPICS: Prayer; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: duplicate; god; prayer; trinity
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1 posted on 11/14/2012 9:33:33 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

“Our Father who art in heaven. . . “


2 posted on 11/14/2012 9:34:47 AM PST by RatRipper (Self-centeredness, greed, envy, deceit and lawless corruption has killed this once great nation.)
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To: SeekAndFind

And we creep back toward the Arian heresy.


3 posted on 11/14/2012 9:36:32 AM PST by wideawake
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To: SeekAndFind

The New Testament includes specific instructions from Jesus on how to pray. It starts with “Our Father who are in Heaven ...”

So it is clear to me, we are to pray directly to God himself. Jesus did not say for us to pray to the Holy Spirit, or to Mary or to the Apostles or to Angels or Abraham or Moses. Go directly to God, no need to worship or pray to anything less than God himself.


4 posted on 11/14/2012 9:44:41 AM PST by taxcontrol
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To: taxcontrol

RE: So it is clear to me, we are to pray directly to God himself.

But The Holy Spirit IS God. So is Jesus.


5 posted on 11/14/2012 9:46:48 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: RatRipper

Mathew 6:6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father.......


6 posted on 11/14/2012 9:46:55 AM PST by faucetman ( Just the facts, ma'am, Just the facts)
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To: All

I pray to Mithra..


7 posted on 11/14/2012 9:48:32 AM PST by KevinDavis (And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.)
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To: taxcontrol
So it is clear to me, we are to pray directly to God himself.

In fact, I use this as an invisible and unobtrusive test when I meet another Christian to establish how well they know their scripture.

8 posted on 11/14/2012 9:50:07 AM PST by hecticskeptic
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To: faucetman; RatRipper

OK It is right and appropriate to pray to the Father directly; the Lord’s Prayer clearly shows that.

However, just because we are permitted to pray, and even commanded to pray to the Father, doesn’t mean that we are not permitted to pray to the Son.

Some might say that prayers of praise to Jesus are legitimate while prayers of petition are not. I will argue that Jesus accepted and still accepts both kinds of prayer.

According to the apostle Paul, New Testament Christians were everywhere praying to Jesus. “Paul. . . to the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours (1 Corinthians 1:1–2).”

It appears that Paul includes himself among those who called upon the name of Jesus. These prayers directed to Jesus were universal. And the present tense of “call” suggests that the prayers were on-going.

Also, Paul prayed to Jesus when he “besought the Lord” to remove his thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:8). Why do we believe that the reference to “the Lord” here refers to Jesus instead of the Father? In the Pauline epistles, the term “Lord” (kurios) usually signifies Jesus,6 while “God” usually denotes to the Father. And look at the response of Paul when the Lord said to him, “[My] strength is made perfect in your weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Paul tells us that he would glory in his weakness that the “power of Christ” (the Lord) would be revealed in him. So the referent for “the Lord” is Jesus. Paul prayed to Jesus, and Jesus responded. Notice that these were prayers of petition, not praise. These were not spontaneous petitions or petitions given in response to the voice of the Lord or a vision, but a prayer prayed three times, as Paul persisted in his request to Jesus. If it were inappropriate for someone to offer supplication to Jesus, Paul would not have asked Jesus three times to answer a specific request. Jesus did not rebuke Paul for praying the prayer, but He did inform Paul that he was better off without the request being granted.

Furthermore, In 2 Thessalonians 2:16–17, Paul blessed the Thessalonians with these words: “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father. . . encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

Even though this benedictory prayer is in a different form than other prayers, it implies a request to Jesus (and the Father), and this suggests the legitimacy of prayer to Jesus.7 Paul expected Jesus to answer this request. A similar benedictory prayer (invoking the name of Jesus) is found in 1 Thessalonians 3:11–14.

In the Gospels, Jesus was worshipped, and He accepted it (John 9:38). Surely this involved verbal communication to Jesus or prayer. The Gospels are not the only place where worship of Jesus occurs. The angels are told to worship Jesus.

There is worship of Jesus (the Lamb) in Revelation by both angels and humans (Revelation 5:8–13).

Since all three members of the Trinity are God, then worship is due to each of them, collectively and individually, because of the nature of the Trinity. Worship involves praise and adoration. It would be wrong to discourage people from addressing each member of the Trinity in praise and adoration.


9 posted on 11/14/2012 9:53:50 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: KevinDavis
RE: I pray to Mithra..

Does he look anything like this?


10 posted on 11/14/2012 10:00:44 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

IF you are a Trinitarian, then it should be a moot point. It would be like asking (stretch of an analogy I know but stay with me) When addressing a letter to the editor, which editorial desk do I send the letter to.

If you are a non-Trinitarian, then it is a valid question to which Jesus supplied the answer.


11 posted on 11/14/2012 10:07:39 AM PST by taxcontrol
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To: KevinDavis

I pray to mythra!


12 posted on 11/14/2012 10:13:47 AM PST by barney10
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To: KevinDavis

I pray to mythra!


13 posted on 11/14/2012 10:13:56 AM PST by barney10
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To: KevinDavis

I pray to mythra!


14 posted on 11/14/2012 10:14:05 AM PST by barney10
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To: KevinDavis

I pray to mythra!


15 posted on 11/14/2012 10:14:47 AM PST by barney10
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To: hecticskeptic

It’s nice to know you’re evaluating all your fellow Christians. Matthew 7:3


16 posted on 11/14/2012 10:16:32 AM PST by bigdaddy45
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To: barney10

Do you pray to mythra?


17 posted on 11/14/2012 10:17:44 AM PST by BO Stinkss
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To: barney10

Not sure if Mithra is happy about his name being mis-spelled :)


18 posted on 11/14/2012 10:26:33 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Yeshua said to pray to The Father.
.


19 posted on 11/14/2012 10:27:00 AM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: wideawake

Arianism, Nestorianism, and Modalism are rampant in certain segments of XXI Century Christianity.


20 posted on 11/14/2012 10:29:50 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: wideawake

In prayer, the only heresy is praying to dead humans, like “Mary” for example.


21 posted on 11/14/2012 10:29:50 AM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: SeekAndFind

Just one agnostics opinion:

I’d venture that the Holy Ghost is less limited in power than when He restricted Himself to the more human (and therefore more limited) familial roles of Father and Son.


22 posted on 11/14/2012 10:30:25 AM PST by null and void (America - Abducted by Aliens...)
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To: ArrogantBustard

Maryolatry is rampant, and grossly ugly.


23 posted on 11/14/2012 10:30:58 AM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: SeekAndFind
"Pray in the name of Jesus," I think means "on the basis of what Jesus has done to make our access to God possible," namely his blood and righteousness. So when I say, "In Jesus' name" at the end of a prayer, I mean "because Jesus died for me and rose again, covered my sins, and imparted and imputed righteousness to me, I have access to the Father." "Because of him"-that's what "In Jesus' name" means.

Take comfort today in Psalm 35 verse 1-3
Contend YHvH
say unto my soul: 'I am Thy salvation.'
Rejoice -- YHvH has become my salvation.

Yah'shua, the name of the L-rd.

His Name Yah'shua(Jesus) gives us hope
as "YHvH has become my Salvation".

Do not be mis-led by later syncretic systems.

shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
24 posted on 11/14/2012 10:32:44 AM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your teaching is my delight.)
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To: editor-surveyor
I have seen essentially NO examples of "Maryolatry" anywhere. I have seen numerous examples of Arianism, Nestorianism, and Modalism on this very forum.
25 posted on 11/14/2012 10:33:07 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I’m pretty sure that Mithras is not happy, where he is.


26 posted on 11/14/2012 10:33:07 AM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: barney10
Looks like Gojira prays to Mothra:


27 posted on 11/14/2012 10:34:18 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

Arianism, Nestorianism, and Modalism exist only in the imaginations of deeply lost Creature worshipers (read:pagans).


28 posted on 11/14/2012 10:39:11 AM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: SeekAndFind
"But The Holy Spirit IS God. So is Jesus."

All aspects of the One. The Father is the source, the thinker. The Son is the person of God, the speaker of the thoughts of God, and the Holy Spirit is the personality of God. The Son is the one we see and audibly hear. The Father is invisible, not seen, and is the creator and reservoir of the thoughts of God before they are spoken by the Son -- the only active agent of God (only begotten Son). All the rest of us are begotten by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is also unseen, but felt. The three are one.

Where God worked through one person at one time, (his own body), He now works through many Sons (and daughters, of course). And Jesus is the Lord of all of us who know -- and believe that he resides now in each of us, for we are flesh of His flesh, and bone of His bone.

People asked what happened to Christ's body?

Look around you, then look in the mirror and begin to recognize who is looking back at you.

29 posted on 11/14/2012 10:39:18 AM PST by Eastbound (3-7-77)
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To: Eastbound

>> “People asked what happened to Christ’s body?” <<

.
Christ’s body ascended to be with the Father. His spirit remains with us to comfort us.


30 posted on 11/14/2012 10:41:40 AM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: Eastbound
All aspects of the One.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
31 posted on 11/14/2012 10:43:11 AM PST by aruanan
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To: editor-surveyor

Very true. But which way is up?


32 posted on 11/14/2012 10:51:33 AM PST by Eastbound (3-7-77)
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To: editor-surveyor
In prayer, the only heresy is praying to dead humans, like “Mary” for example.

Would that really be the "only" heresy one could commit while praying?

Your post is fraught with illogical statements of that kind.

I don't know anyone who prays to "dead humans" - though I do know many people who pray to a human who was once dead. His name is Jesus of Nazareth.

Since that same Jesus is also the living God as well as a human being who suffered death, I'm not sure why you believe He lied to His mother, Mary (I assure you, by the way, that she exists - there's no need for scare quotes around her name), about the gift of everlasting life.

33 posted on 11/14/2012 10:59:57 AM PST by wideawake
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To: SeekAndFind; editor-surveyor
Where does it say "Trinity" in the Bible?

It doesn 't.

That's because there aint no "Trinity". Why don't you folk follow the Bible?

Signed.......a Jehovah's Witness.

34 posted on 11/14/2012 11:01:05 AM PST by marshmallow (.)
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To: SeekAndFind

When we pray, who can actually receive that prayer?

I imagine when someone can figure that out, then they know who they are actually praying to.


35 posted on 11/14/2012 11:01:13 AM PST by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: Eastbound
All aspects of the One.

This is the heresy of Modalism.

And it goes downhill from there.

36 posted on 11/14/2012 11:02:01 AM PST by wideawake
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To: aruanan
That was in a manner of speaking. Another way to describe what is difficult to describe.

Like, what is the description of space? Of a cube?

I could try by saying that space has three aspects. It consists of apparent darkness in three unlimited directions -- up and down, back and forth, and side to side.

A cube could be described as a solid with limited directions, called dimensions -- width, length and heighth. (Of course, that would apply to all matter, but you get the idea of the unity of the 'aspects.' (But only if you wanted to, of course.) ;>

37 posted on 11/14/2012 11:07:33 AM PST by Eastbound (3-7-77)
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To: bigdaddy45
It’s nice to know you’re evaluating all your fellow Christians. Matthew 7:3

So you are suggesting that an individual apply no elements of discernment when meeting another person who is being met for the first time? Care to elaborate on how that works? And how is what you are suggesting square with numerous other Bible verses that implore Christians to be discerning in how they approach everything including the people they meet every day? May I kindly suggest that you scroll down a few verses in Matthew 7 to verse 15. ‘Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.’ Or Hebrews 5:13-14 ‘For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil'. What I was suggesting was simply applying discernment in the way that scripture has suggested to us that it be carried out.'

38 posted on 11/14/2012 11:09:00 AM PST by hecticskeptic
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To: marshmallow

“Where does it say “Trinity” in the Bible?

It doesn ‘t.

That’s because there aint no “Trinity”. Why don’t you folk follow the Bible?

Signed.......a Jehovah’s Witness. “

The word “trinity” is shorthand for our understanding that there is one God in three persons. No Christian asserts that “trinity” is a word in the Bible.

Neither is “modalism,” “arianism,” “post millenial,” “dispensational,” or many other theological terms. We use them as shorthand, rather than using a sentence’s worth of description of every time.

I could say: “the belief that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there is only one God, an eternal mystery beyond understanding and yet clearly taught in the Bible.” Or, I could say, “the trinity.”

As for Scripture proofs, if you are a JW, you are probably already aware of the many many verses that orthodox Christians utilize to show that not only the Father, but the Son and the Holy Spirit, are God - just a couple here for those interested or conflicted:

“And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20, 26-29)

Please note Thomas addresses Jesus as God, and is praised by Him, not rebuked.

Prophesying of Christ:

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

As to the Holy Spirit’s Godhead, in Matthew 28:19 Jesus commands people to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. How could the command make sense if the Holy Spirit is just a power or characteristic, rather than a living Being like the Father and Son?

Frequently throughout the Bible the Holy Spirit is referred to as “He,” and given all the attributes of God. Note, for example, Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God. Who else could cause the conception of Jesus? God alone, surely.

Yet there is one God. So we are left with this truth: There is one God, in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


39 posted on 11/14/2012 11:16:45 AM PST by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
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To: BO Stinkss; barney10

Mythra? Urethra?
I say Aretha! R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
...sorry...


40 posted on 11/14/2012 11:17:26 AM PST by outofsalt ("If History teaches us anything it's that history rarely teaches us anything")
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To: taxcontrol; hecticskeptic
Jesus did not say for us to pray to the Holy Spirit . . . Go directly to God, no need to worship or pray to anything less than God himself.

Are you saying, tc, that the Holy Spirit is a creature and not God?

Would you agree with this, hs?

41 posted on 11/14/2012 11:23:17 AM PST by wideawake
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To: hecticskeptic

Well I’m not assuming that most people I meet are prophets. If you’re trying to pick a church or spiritual leader, thats a fair thing to want to know. But otherwise, most of my conversations don’t end up at “which God do you pray to”.


42 posted on 11/14/2012 11:25:21 AM PST by bigdaddy45
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To: marshmallow
Some pretty amazing statements are being made on this thread, mm.

No surprise that your irony is unappreciated.

43 posted on 11/14/2012 11:26:23 AM PST by wideawake
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To: KevinDavis; SeekAndFind

You pray to a butterfly?.............

44 posted on 11/14/2012 11:29:51 AM PST by Red Badger (Lincoln freed the slaves. Obama just got them ALL back......................)
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To: editor-surveyor
Your comment is absurd.

Either Jesus is God or He is not God.

"Jesus is God" is the Christian belief.

"Jesus is not God" is the belief of Arians (among others).

"The Son truly became Man" is the Christian belief.

"The Son did NOT truly become Man" is the belief of Nestorians (among others).

"The Father and The Son and The Holy Spirit are distinct persons" is the Christian belief.

"Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are different ways that God interacts with creation" is a the belief of Modalists.

The errors of Arianism, Nestorianism, and Modalism exist in the real world; they are not figments of anyone's imagination.

45 posted on 11/14/2012 11:33:47 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: wideawake

The quotes are because those that pray to “mary” are in reality praying to “the mother of god” or “the queen of heaven” who are none other than Semiramis/Ishtar.

Jesus was victorious over death, so he is not a dead humam. Aside from Enoch and Elija, no other humans have yet been victorious over death. The “first resurrection” AKA rapture, is when the “dead in Christ” will experience that victory.


46 posted on 11/14/2012 11:35:04 AM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: ArrogantBustard
This thread shows exactly how close "nondenominational Biblical Christianity" is getting to Islam.

No authority at all except Scripture, practical abandonment of the Trinity, the oneupmanship in who appears the be the most monotheistic-looking, deprecation of saints, apostles, angels and even Persons of the Trinity, paranoid distrust of images.

It's a Christianity that has been completely emptied of its history and whose theology is hollowed out to the extremest form of minimalism.

It's simply a matter of switching texts now.

47 posted on 11/14/2012 11:36:54 AM PST by wideawake
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To: ArrogantBustard

Your reaction is what is absurd.

You speak of ancient confusion as though its victims are immortal. Nestor and his congregation are dead. Those that don’t believe that Christ is God are not a part of the “church,” they are simply the lost.

On the other hand, there are those that do believe in Christ, as God, and redeemer, yet in confusion, and grave error do pray to “Mary.”


48 posted on 11/14/2012 11:42:42 AM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: Persevero

I agree with most of what you posted and appreciate your comments but using Thomas to prove the trinity is absurd. Just minutes before Thomas doubted Jesus rose from the dead after having being around when Jesus performed countless miracles. Thomas was clueless. He sees this miracle and calls him God. Ok. Better late than never. That alone does not provide much support for the fine theological details of the trinity. Having that said Thomas is not needed. There are many other passages that deal with the trinity.


49 posted on 11/14/2012 11:44:26 AM PST by plain talk
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To: editor-surveyor
The quotes are because those that pray to “mary”

"Those" do not exist.

Jesus was victorious over death, so he is not a dead humam

We agree that He is not dead - though He certainly was, briefly. Can we agree that He is a human being?

The “first resurrection” AKA rapture

So you hold to the view that the souls of those who died in Christ remain on earth, then?

50 posted on 11/14/2012 11:46:18 AM PST by wideawake
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