Baptist History, Multiple Services, and Multiple Campuses

Tom Nettles, The Baptists: Key People Involved in Forming a Baptist Identity (Beginnings in Britain), recounts a debate between the early Baptist Hanserd Knollys and one of his Presbyterian contemporaries, John Bastwick:

Bastwick argued that the Jerusalem church had only one body of elders over several assemblies or congregations. Believers meeting at the Temple in Acts 2:44, 46 and at Solomon’s Porch in Acts 5:12 proves for Bastwick that different groups of believers met in various places under the authority of the one group of elders. Knollys did not argue against the existence of one body of elders. Instead, he used the very verses backing Bastwick’s argument against him. In Acts 2:44, Scripture states, ‘All that believed were together.’ Verse 46 states that they were at the temple. Acts 5:12 reads, ‘And they were all with on accord in Solomon’s Porch.’ These are but one congregation (note the use of ‘all’) meeting in different areas, not many congregations in different areas (Nettles, 158).

We have seen multiple services in Baptist churches for a long time, and I wonder if churches that do multiple servises—where essentially a different congregation gathers for worship at each different service—have ever paused to consider whether there is any biblical warrant for having one group of pastors serve more than one congregation?

We are now seeing a sort of movement among large Baptist churches where churches have not only multiplied services/congregations, they have multiplied campuses.

Let me be quick to say that I am all for multiplication. Praise God for the growth of the church. But if we multiply services/congregations/campuses and do not ALSO match these services/congregations/campuses with their own pastors, have we maintained a cherished Baptist distinctive: the autonomy of the local church? Have we implicitly taken a step in the direction of Roman Catholic polity—where a Bishop presides over a group of churches? Have we even stopped to consider whether a new service/congregation/campus should be matched by a new set of pastors for that local church? Have we thought about what our Baptist forbears have done with these kinds of issues? Have we considered what the Bible has to say on this?

The Power of God’s Word and Spirit

From Tom Nettles, The Baptists: Key People Involved in Forming a Baptist Identity (Beginnings in Britain), on the distribution of the New Testament by William Carey, William Ward, and Joshua Marshman in India:

When the New Testament was printed, the missionaries began to distribute it carefully. William Ward and Krishna Pal, the first convert of the mission, distributed some tracts and one Bengali New Testament in a village near Calcutta named Ram Krishnapur. When Ward gave the villagers the New Testament, he instructed that it should be given to the person who could read best. That person was then to read it aloud to all who desired to hear. The villagers followed his instructions.

After continuing this practice for about three years, several from the village walked to Serampore and sought help from Carey and his associates. They asked ‘How may we obtain the fruits of Christ’s death?’ Reading the Scriptures in the prescribed manner had convinced them of the foolishness of idol worship and brought them to trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. The combination of the Word and the effectual working of the Spirit had brought about the salvation of a number of Christ’s sheep.

Krishna Pal, upon questioning them, rejoiced in the sovereign grace of God for they had ‘no other means, it seems than a New Testament and a few pamphlets’. In November 1805 about eleven of the villagers were baptized.

Five Kulin Brahmins were converted in 1812. Their faith also was provoked by the unaided study of the Scriptures. According to those Brahmins there were another one hundred people in their district who sought the truth as well. It is a significant insight into Carey’s theology to realize that he and his compatriots expected that the Scripture alone, under the blessing of the Spirit, would accomplish these things (Nettles, 298)


Don’t get taken in by fads

I’m reading Andreas Köstenberger’s commentary on John, and I found the statement I’ll quote in a moment fascinating. Before I quote Köstenberger, let me set the stage. Throughout the latter half of the 20th century it was fashionable for scholars to view the Gospel of John as the product of a community, circle, or Johannine school. In his commentary, Raymond Brown described a hypothetical 5 stage process of redaction that the Gospel went through. J. L. Martyn also wrote a famous book called History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel. This way of reading the Gospel reflects the judgment that the Gospel of John reflects as much of the “history of the Johannine community”—what happened to the Christians connected to John—as it does the history of Jesus’ earthly life. Köstenberger relates this anecdote:

“In a stunning ‘confession,’ Robert Kysar, at a recent session of the Johannine literature section convened under the auspices of the Society of Biblical Literature, has chronicled the rise and fall of the Martyn/Brown-style ‘Johannine Community’ hypothesis and expressed personal regret for ever having endorsed it.” (Köstenberger, John, 3).

If it’s faddish to look at a naked emperor and go on and on about his beautiful clothes, don’t get taken in by the fad. If it’s faddish to look at a Gospel that claims to be about Jesus and go on and on about what happened to the Christian community in the 50–70 years after Jesus died, don’t get taken in by the fad. The emperor is naked, and one day there will be regret.

Salvation through Judgment for the Glory of God

This post is mainly in response to Damion’s question in a comment on my previous post. Damion asked about how judgment fits in the equation. Brett commented that this is a no-brainer, and all I can say is that when you look at typical surveys of Biblical Theology in resources such as the Anchor Bible Dictionary or the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia or the relevant article in the Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, you won’t find a the glory of God mentioned as a possible center of Biblical Theology.

For fuller discussion of these issues, please see the paper I presented, a revised version of which will be in the next issue of Tyndale Bulletin.

Briefly, here’s how I see the “salvation through judgment” part working:

  1. Salvation shows God to be “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exod 34:6b–7a).
  2. Judgment shows God to be the one “who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation” (Exod 34:7b).
  3. Thus, salvation and judgment balance one another. The reality of judgment should keep us from thinking of God in purely sentimental terms as though he were a grandfatherly buddy who just lets things go. The reality of salvation should likewise keep us from thinking of God as a terrifying vengeful judge. Those who flee to him will be saved, but those who do not fear him will be judged.
  4. Salvation always comes through judgment in various ways.
    1. Salvation for the nation of Israel at the Exodus came through the judgment of Egypt, and this pattern is repeated throughout the OT. When God saves Israel, he delivers the nation by bringing judgment on the nation’s enemies.
    2. Salvation for all believers of all ages is made possible by the judgment that falls on Jesus at the cross. The cross allows God to be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom 3:24–26). Even though members of the remnant live before Jesus, saving faith is explicit trust in the promises of God. I believe the promises of God begin in Genesis 3:15, and I think that many of these promises concern an anointed redeemer whom God will raise up to accomplish the salvation of his people—Messiah. So even though OT saints don’t know that the Messiah will be named Jesus, grow up in Nazareth etc., they have heard God promise to raise up a man who will save them and they trust God to keep his word. So they are saved by faith in God’s promised Messiah.
    3. Everyone who gets saved gets saved through judgment. All who flee to Christ and confess that he is Lord and that God raised him from the dead do so because they realize their need for a Savior. They realize their need for a Savior because they have become convinced that God is holy, they are sinful, and they know God will judge. In a sense, they feel the force of condemnation and justice, the wrath that remains upon them, and they recognize that Jesus is their only hope.
    4. Thus, historically (in Christ on the cross) and existentially (in their own experience of the wrath of God that makes them feel their need for Christ) believers are saved through judgment.

All of this reveals God as righteous and merciful, loving and just, holy and forgiving, for his glory forever. And his glory is what is best for all concerned. . . This is not my philosophy. Those who raise issues of omni-benevolence need to wrestle with what the texts say. The texts are the controlling elements in the discussion. The texts lead me to these conclusions. Soli Deo Gloria.

The Center of Biblical Thoelogy

When I was doing my Ph.D. at SBTS I took a seminar on New Testament Theology with Mark Seifrid. As we read surveys of the issues and discussions, I was surprised by what I thought was missing from one aspect of the scholarly dialogue. One of the things that gets bantered about in these discussions is whether there is a central theme or controlling ideal in Biblical Theology. What surprised me was that no one had suggested that the glory of God might be the center of Biblical Theology. The glory of God has received ample treatment from the likes of Jonathan Edwards (see especially his Treatise concerning the End for which God Created the World), Dan Fuller, John Piper, and my own supervisor, Tom Schreiner (who argues for its centrality in Paul’s thought in his Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ), but it doesn’t seem to have received serious consideration as a possible center of Biblical Theology.

As I thought about these things, I was translating my way through Isaiah. Over and over in Isaiah we read that God shows his power and righteousness by judging the wicked while putting on display his sweet mercies in the salvation of those who trust him. This matched Piper’s explanation of Romans 9:22–23 and Edwards’ argument concerning God’s ultimate purpose.

So in the providence of God I proposed to present a paper on this issue at a meeting of the Tyndale Fellowship. Howard Marshall responded to the paper on that occasion, and Greg Beale was there to give the Biblical Theology lecture for that year. Afterwards Beale remarked that Marshall’s response was what one might expect from a Wesleyan Methodist (emphasizing God’s love).

After some revisions, and having been shepherded through by Bruce Winter, the essay will appear in the next issue of Tyndale Bulletin. You can read the abstract here. I think the glory of God in salvation through judgment is the center of Biblical Theology. Soli Deo Gloria.

Addressing Our Lack of Spiritual Wisdom

My friend Eric Schumacher, one of the most gifted poets and hymn writers I know, has posted a thoughtful reflection on the first thing for which those Irish Baptists invited the Baptists in London to join them in repentance: our lack of spiritual wisdom to reprove reprove sin plainly in all without respect of persons.

May the Lord use this series that Eric is starting to give us the wisdom we seek from him.

Why I Think Romans 7 Is Describing Indwelling Sin in Believers

The main argument employed by those who don’t think that Romans 7 is describing the experience of believers is simply that in Romans 6 Paul has described believers as dead to sin (6:2), crucified with Christ and no longer enslaved to sin (6:6), and thus, having died, believers are set free from sin (6:7). These things being the case, it is argued that when Paul writes in Romans 7 of the one who is “sold under sin” (7:14) and serving the law of sin in the flesh (7:25), he cannot be describing believers.

There are several reasons I find this unpersuasive. There are probably more than the ones I will articulate here, but these are the ones that come to mind (influenced by Tom Schreiner’s commentary on Romans and John Piper’s sermon on Romans 7).

(1) Having described the way that believers have been freed from sin through union with Christ in his death in Romans 6:1–10, Paul commands believers in 6:11, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (ESV). This tells us that while there is a positional reality that has been described in 6:1–10, there is an ongoing process of “mental transformation” (12:1–2) that still needs to happen in the experience of believers. Believers must “reckon” themselves dead to sin, and this “reckoning” is described with the same Greek verb used repeatedly in Romans 4 to describe Abraham being “reckoned” righteous not because of what he had done but according to grace (e.g., 4:3–5). So it seems to me that just as Abraham was “reckoned” righteous by faith in spite of his sin, so also believers must “reckon” themselves dead to sin even though they will groan til the day when they are set free from corruption (8:18–25). Why does Paul have to command believers to “reckon” themselves dead to sin? Because of the reality he names in Romans 7:17, 20, and 23—indwelling sin. (See also the command in 6:19, and the reasoning in 6:20–22).

(2) Why would Paul use the first person singular pronoun (“I”) in Romans 7 if he were not describing a reality that he himself experiences? Is there another place in Paul’s writings where he speaks in the first person singular (“I”) but is really not describing himself? The pervasive use of the first person singulars (“I” “me” “my”) and the lack of any indication that Paul is not describing himself argues against the position that Paul is not, in fact, describing himself.

(3) The poignancy of the anguished statements in 7:24–25 should be taken as indicative of Paul’s own feelings (Compare his anguish in 9:1–3). If the desperate cry, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” in 7:24 is not describing Paul’s own experience, don’t these words seem a little melodramatic? Wouldn’t it be more typical of Paul to describe the inability of unbelievers in a more detached way as we see in Rom 8:7, 1 Cor 2:14, or 2 Cor 4:4?

(4) If Paul is not describing his own experience as a Christian in Romans 7, he sure confuses the matter with the concluding words of the chapter: “So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin” (7:25b). If Paul meant to describe the experience of an unbeliever, which culminates in the wretched cry in 7:24 (“Who will rescue me?”), shouldn’t the opening words of 7:25 (“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”) be followed by a Romans 6 type affirmation? In other words, the answer to the cry in 7:24 is given in 7:25a—Jesus will rescue me from this body of death, thank God! If Paul has been describing an unbeliever, why doesn’t Rom 7:25b read like Rom 6:7? Shouldn’t 7:25b, according to this interpretation, read more on the lines of: “now you’ve died with Christ and you’re set free from sin!”?

I submit, then, that the reason Paul has to write Romans 6 at all, the reason he has to command the Roman believers to “reckon” themselves to be what they (positionally in Christ) are in 6:11, is explained in Romans 7. In Romans 6, Paul introduces some of the only commands in all of Romans 1–11 because believers find themselves in the conflicted state described in Romans 7—we want to do good but we often do what we hate instead (cf. 7:15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25).

The answer to this dilemma is then explained in Romans 8:1–17, where Paul describes the difference between living according to the flesh and living according to the Spirit. Those who walk according to the Spirit will indeed “fulfill the law” (8:4), but this walking according to the Spirit entails putting to death the “deeds of the body” by the power of the Spirit (8:13). Here again, these “deeds of the body” have to be “put to death” because they arise from the “indwelling sin” described in Romans 7.

Together for the Gospel: May the Lord Bring Revival

This past week, at the generosity of Baptist Church of the Redeemer, I had the privilege of attending the Together for the Gospel Conference in Louisville, KY. The God-centered, mercy magnifying, Bible proclaiming humility of the men who spoke at the conference was enormously encouraging. This is a kind of evangelicalism, a way of being Christian, that I want to be a part of. The kind of evangelicalism put on display at the conference is united not by a lowest common denominator theological affirmation but by a fervent passion to revel in the untraceable mercy of the righteous Father expressing his love in the death of his Son and redeeming people from their just deserts by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is an evangelicalism that is denominationally diverse: Ligon Duncan ministers in the Presbyterian Church of America, C. J. Mahaney in Sovereign Grace, Al Mohler and Mark Dever in the Southern Baptist Convention, R. C. Sproul in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, John Piper in the Baptist General Conference, and John MacArthur is representative of the Bible Church movement. But these men all share a big view of the God revealed in the Bible, and their shared view of God unites them across denominational lines.

This is an evangelicalism that is spread across the country: MacArthur on the West Coast in California, Piper in the far north of Minneapolis, Duncan in the deep south of Mississippi, Mohler in the middle America of Kentucky, Sproul in the south east in Florida, Mahaney and Dever on the East Coast of Virginia and Washington D.C, respectively. Across the miles these men are united in the belief that the Bible must be proclaimed because faith comes by hearing.

This is an evangelicalism that is confessional. These men signed 18 articles of affirmation and denial that clearly define who they are and what they believe. If they ask for others to affirm these as well, sign me up.

As I mull over this conference in the coming days I may post other thoughts on it. The point of this one is to say that I pray that the Lord would use this to ignite a widespread revival. On the flight home last night I was reading Tom Nettles’ The Baptists: Key People Involved in Forming a Baptist Identity, and I was struck by this passage about William Kiffin:

In 1653 a most affectionate fraternal letter was sent from Baptist churches in Ireland to ‘the churches of London under the care of Messrs. Kiffin, Spilsbury, and others’. The letter called for a maintenance of correspondence and a faithful sense of supplication and repentance before God. Every first Wednesday the churches pledged themselves ‘by fasting and prayer humbly to mourn before him for the things following’. They then listed under twelve numbers the sins of omission for which they earnestly sought repentance including such concerns as, ‘Our want of spiritual wisdom to reprove sin plainly in all without respect of persons . . . ; Our little praying and praising frame of heart; in particular for faithful labourers in the Lord’s vineyard; . . . Our little serious searching into the word of God, and not substantially acquainting ourselves with the foundation truths revealed therein; . . . Our little concern for the sufferings of the people of God; . . . our little mourning for sin; . . . Our great ignorance of the deceitfulness of our own hearts.’ These issues, plus others, seemed sufficient grounds for ‘our lying low before the Lord, that he may lift us up in due time’.

The Baptists in London, led by Kiffin, responded immediately by having a day of fasting and prayer on these very issues and sent the correspondence along to the brethren in Wales with a cover letter. ‘We shall not offer arguments,’ they wrote, ‘to persuade you to compliance with our brethren’s desire and ours.’ The statements in themselves ‘carry so much evidence and demonstration of truth, necessity and suitableness to the Gospel rule’, that no such convincing is necessary. ‘We have already kept a day of holy fasting and prayer, upon the grounds expressed; and trust we shall never lay down our spiritual weapons.’ (Nettles, The Baptists, 135–36, emphasis added).

O that God would use the Together for the Gospel conference to spur his people to widespread “maintenance of correspondence and a faithful sense of supplication and repentance before God.” O that God would use many weblogs to create and maintain correspondence, and O that many would indeed give themselves to fasting on the first Wednesday of the month, praying for God to bring reformation and revival, repenting of sin, and asking God for a hunger and thirst to know Christ.

The first Wednesday of the month is in just a few days.

Here again are the things mentioned in the letter above:

(1) Our want of spiritual wisdom to reprove sin plainly in all without respect of persons.

(2) Our little praying and praising frame of heart; in particular for faithful labourers in the Lord’s vineyard.

(3) Our little serious searching into the word of God, and not substantially acquainting ourselves with the foundation truths revealed therein.

(4) Our little concern for the sufferings of the people of God.

(5) Our little mourning for sin.

(6) Our great ignorance of the deceitfulness of our own hearts.’

We Baptists are famous for our “invitations.” I invite you to join me in repenting of these sins and fasting before God from breakfast and lunch on the first Wednesday of the month, beseeching the Lord to bring revival. Do we love him, and do we desire him to save surprising numbers of people, more than we love one breakfast and lunch a month?

With Kiffin and those on whose shoulders we stand, may we "never lay down our spiritual weapons."

R. C. Sproul on the Holiness and Justice of God

The Wednesday that Together for the Gospel began (April 26), R. C. Sproul spoke in chapel at SBTS. I was not there, but I heard that the message was phenomenal and that the place was packed.

Sproul’s address at TFG was very impressive, and you can download the Chapel address here or listen to it here.

Dan Fuller and Inerrancy

From the following quotations it would appear that Daniel P. Fuller holds to inerrancy (quotations from The Unity of the Bible, 1992):

“. . . rather than simply stating at the outset that the Bible is indeed the verbally inspired, inerrant Word of God, I arrive at this conclusion by beginning with facts and axioms and then work upward from these to establish the Bible’s verbal inspiration” (xvii).

“. . . I have felt that to follow this method was most appropriate in establishing the Bible’s inerrancy and unity” (xviii).

“In chapters 3 and 4, then, I conclude that the twenty-seven books composing the New Testament canon are also [with the OT] inerrantly and verbally inspired by God” (24).

But in describing “Black Saturday,” December 1, 1962, in Reforming Fundamentalism George Marsden recounts that

While Ockenga, as chairman, could have left it at that, he opened the door for major debate by asking immediately, ‘But why do we need a new creed?’ He could see no such need. Dan Fuller, the model of candor . . . saw his chance to assume his new leadership role. He pointed to what he saw as a vital need to revise the statement on inerrancy. ‘Dr. Ockenga,’ he asserted before the whole faculty and board, ‘there are errors which cannot be explained by the original autographs. It is simply not historically feasible to say that these errors would disappear if we had the autographs.’ He went on to explain his whole theory of the nature of biblical inerrancy—essentially, that the Bible claimed inerrancy only for its ‘revelational’ teachings, that is, matters that make one wise unto salvation. . . .

Ockenga responded with thinly veiled indignation. 'Well, what are we going to do then? Dan Fuller thinks the Bible is just full of errors' (211–12).

Then Marsden records this fascinating detail: “As a matter of course, stenographers had made a shorthand record of the entire planning conference. Within a few days the elder Fuller [Dan’s father, Charles, the evangelist who with Ockenga founded Fuller Seminary] had gathered all the notes and the transcripts typed from them and placed them in his safe. Eventually they disappeared” (215).

The account goes on,

A few days later Ockenga called him [Dan Fuller] in and asked him if he could sign the statement of faith. Fuller said ‘sure’ he could. He observed that Article II of the creed, that concerning Scripture, combined the statement that the Bible was inerrant with the classic formula that it was ‘the only infallible rule of faith and practice.’ That phrase, Fuller argued, implied that it was as a rule of faith and practice that the Bible was ‘free from error in the whole and in the part’ (216).

It seems to me that this is a classic case of “equivocation,” which exploits the ambiguity in the meaning of words or phrases. On the one hand, Fuller asserts that the Bible has errors, and on the other hand, he signs a statement saying the Bible has no errors. Then, 30 years later he publishes The Unity of the Bible and defends “inerrancy”! Did his mind change or does he mean by “inerrancy” what he meant in 1962? What Fuller meant by the term was clearly not what the conservatives at Fuller (e.g., Ockenga, Carl Henry, Harold Lindsell, Wilbur Smith) meant by the term.

Marsden recounts that in the view of at least one of the Fuller trustees, “Those who were not in accord with the creed should, in honesty, leave” (215).

Unfortunately, those who disagree with creeds are apparently never willing to leave. They stay around and either change the creed or ignore it. As Marsden notes on the previous page,

Beginning with the gradual slippage of Harvard into Unitarianism, the past two hundred years had seen an endless repetition of the same story. Most of America’s greatest academic institutions had been founded by conservative Bible-believing evangelicals. But nearly every one of these schools had eventually fallen to the onslaughts of theological liberalism, and then to outright secularism. A vast empire lay in ruins (214, and see further Marsen’s The Soul of the American University).

Those interested in a full explanation of Inerrancy should consult “The Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy,” which in my view accurately represents what the Bible claims about itself.

What do you expect from the books you hope to write?

I’m reading George Marsden’s book, Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism, which I would highly recommend to anyone who does what I do (teach at an evangelical institution of higher learning). This is a fascinating story, and here I just want to note one thing that struck me last night.

Marsden recounts how the founding faculty of Fuller sought to put evangelical scholarship on the map, and he describes E. J. Carnell’s “great triumph” of having his book Christian Commitment: An Apologetic accepted for publication in 1957 by Macmillan in New York (181). As Marsden describes the book and its impact, he writes, “Despite some such critical remarks, Christian Commitment did not even manage to create controversy. As with most books, it was simply noticed and then ignored. Macmillan soon gave up on it and sold off the stock as remainders. To Carnell this failure in big-time publishing was a great blow” (184).

"Noticed and then ignored" . . . "Noticed and then ignored" . . . "Noticed and then ignored."

Let those words rattle around in your mind, and think about how many books you've read, and how many you've "noticed and then ignored."

This raises several questions in my mind. Whose approval are we seeking when we set out to write? What audience do we expect to influence most? And, have we noticed how the writings of others have been received?

I don’t want to be overly spiritual here, but this should remind us again that our aim should always first and foremost be to please the one before whose judgment seat we will stand and give account (2 Cor 5:9–10). Before our Master we stand or fall (Rom 14:4), and only if this reality is supreme for us will the inevitable rejections of life be bearable.

As to the audience where our influence will be greatest, I’ll never forget a conversation I had with Tom Schreiner. I was telling Dr. Schreiner about a scholar I know whose goal it is to “cause liberals to sit up and take notice of evangelical scholarship.” His reply was simply that this scholar needs to realize that his greatest influence is going to be with his students. He went on to observe that scholars almost never change the minds of other scholars, while students are often shaped by their teachers. This is not a statement that we should not hold rigorously to the highest standards of scholarship, it is simply a recognition that this high standard of scholarship will have its greatest impact upon our students. So would your approach to your work change if you thought of it in these terms?

I have read that George Ladd was also crushed when his work was ignored by the left (see the essay on Ladd in this volume). Let’s be realistic about how books, even the best books by the most astute authors, have been received, and let’s always aspire to be pleasing to the Lord.

Trinitarian Expository Exultation

Dr. Bruce Ware is one of the leading theologians of our generation. He is one of the most loving people I have ever met, and he enthusiastically proclaims the greatness of the God he loves.

As soon as possible you should download Dr. Ware's sermon on the Trinity in Ephesians 1 and relish this joyful exposition and exhortation to marvel at the Triune God.