This should probably be titled Wednesday Thoughts, since it was inspired more by our Wednesday night lessons on the Trinity, but since it’s inspired by preaching, I’ll just leave it Sunday Thoughts.
My husband has been preaching on the Trinity for about two years now, or about 71 lessons. He just finished up. What a challenging blessing this journey had been for our congregation. We’ve covered the basics of the doctrine, its historical development, the heresies surrounding it, and the theology of it. You can listen to all it on his blog, Rod of Iron.
I’ve had an interesting journey as I’ve listened to the preaching on the Trinity. I started out treating the doctrine as something I couldn’t understand and thus was exempt from understanding. Halfway through, I was terrified I was constantly thinking of God in error. Now, I am aware of how much I don’t understand, feel like I have a grasp on some things, and am more thankful than ever for the gift God gives us in our Pastors and Teachers.
One of the books I’m reading right now is By Common Confession, essays in honor of James M. Renihan, edited by Ronald S. Baines, Richard C. Barcellos, and James P. Butler. In it, there is an essay by Stefan T. Lindblad on the Eternal Generation of the Son. This was the first essay in the book that was way over my head. The language and subject matter are far above my normal reading level. And yet, due to the diligent preaching of the word by faithful men, I followed for more of the essay than I would have otherwise.
This led me to have a greater respect for repetition. You know that bit of review a pastor does at the start of every sermon in the series? You know that sermon almost exactly like the one he preached before his break? You know, that part at the beginning where you only half listen cause you just heard this last week?
I always viewed that part as necessary for people who weren’t here last Wednesday/Sunday. (Sounds so prideful doesn’t it?) I often encouraged my husband to not do so much review. I thought if he stopped reviewing so much, he could finish the series faster. And we’ve all heard it before. Thankfully, he didn’t really take my advice. The concepts, truths, and theology he was teaching are hard to understand, hard to hold onto, hard to processes. We want to skip it, so we don’t have to wrestle with it.
Over and over, on Wednesday nights, he repeated the same things about the Trinity. Over and over, we sat and listened. Things got deeper, bigger, broader, and my view on review started to change. From one Wednesday night to the next, I eagerly awaited the review because I knew I wasn’t holding onto all that had been taught last week. I needed to refit it all in my brain. Then I’d go home, meditate, worry I wasn’t thinking through it right, and be ready for the repetitive review by the next Wednesday night.
Repetition became one of the biggest aids in a difficult and often misunderstood or abandoned doctrine. It familiarizes us with the terms, re-aligns our thinking, and helps us gather up what we’d forgotten. Repetition gave me hooks to hang thoughts on allowing me to sort of follow an article about the Trinity written far above my normal reading level. Repetition is helpful.
This is why we never get tired of hearing the Gospel. I’ve been in church my whole life, was saved at a young age, and still, I come to church each week hungry for the gospel. I’ve sinned, fallen short, and I need to hear of grace again.
So, this is a remainder to me, and hopefully and encouragement to you, don’t check out when the Pastor is going over, yet again, the same thing he went over last week, and the same thing he’ll go over next week. It’s for our good. Listen.