April 29, 2011

An Apple A Day

The Holy Trinity is one of the hardest aspects of Christianity for most people to understand...or even swallow.  A dear friend of mine, who is an minister and fronts her own children's ministry with her husband, shared this explanation with me yesterday.  It's taken from the children's book, 3 in 1: A Picture of God by Joanne Marxhausen and I think, explains it better than anything else I've seen or heard.

Marxhausen explains that each part of the apple – the peel, flesh, core – have different functions, yet are all “apple” and nothing else. She also goes on to explain that the Trinity [three parts] of God – Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit – are all God in different forms. She states that just as the peel protects the apple – God the Father protects humankind, an apple has flesh – Jesus was God made flesh and the core of the apple, like the Holy Spirit, contains the seeds. Just as seeds of apple trees grow in fertile, watered and cared for ground; seeds of faith will sprout, grow and flourish. The seeds of faith are just that – faith – in something [God] that has no tangible nature. One of the major values and beliefs taught in the Christian faith is that its communities [churches or denominations] of people need to nurture and care for one another to keep the seeds of faith alive.

My friend sent this to me yesterday because I was presented with an unexpected opportunity.  My daughter-in-law had posted a question related to the Trinity as her Facebook status.  I knew she is not a Christian (by my definition), but I have been feeling hopeful lately as she has been asking questions, going to a Bible study and even attended church for Easter.

I jumped right in there hoping to answer some of her questions.  Unfortunately, her aunt jumped in, too.  For every answer I gave, the aunt quoted "scripture" to dispute the whole idea of the Trinity.  Something felt very....off....about the "scriptures" and I was feeling very frustrated even though we'd maintained a friendly attitude through the whole thing.  That's when I called upon my friend and shared the above illustration.  It didn't help.  I'm not even sure they read it.  They just kept firing back stuff about the idea of the Trinity being pagan in origin or as her mother later commented, from Plato, along with scripture taken out of context.  I have to admit here that my gut feelings at this point were far from Christ-like....mostly I was wondering how you argue with "stupid." 

Going into all the things that got thrown around would just give you the same headache and beat up feeling it gave me (as my friend pointed out....Satan was NOT liking the conversation) so to cut a long story short, I finally asked what translation of the Bible they were using because some of the stuff they were saying was unfamiliar to me. 

And the answer was?

The New World Translation.

Don't know what that is?  I didn't either.  My friend looked it up.

It's the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses.

I knew my daughter-in-law had been raised in a JW home, but she's always been totally against what it stood for.  Obviously not any more.  Before I thought I only had to hope for her to hear the Word of God.  Now I know that she has to first accept that what she follows now is false.  It's going to be an uphill climb as she informed me that no one will agree with the JW because they are the "one true religion" and she believes that she is a Christian, thank-you-very-much.

A friend asked where my son stands in this.  I don't know.  I know how he was raised.  I know he made a decision for Christ and was baptized of his own free will when he was in middle school.  I know that at one point at the end of high school he thought maybe he was being called to ministry.  I also know that for several years he has not been walking with the Lord.  So...I just don't know if his wife and her family have swayed his thoughts or not.

And then there is my beautiful, precious granddaughter.  For now I believe she is protected by innocence, but I pray she will learn about the true God when she is older.
If there is a bright spot in all of this it's that it ended friendly.  Not so long ago my daughter-in-law would not have taken a conversation like this very well at all.  Yesterday she thanked me for the thought-provoking exchange of ideas.


Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

I'm going to look for that book!

NWT, eh? Interesting.

quilly said...

I have a very good friend who is a Witness and she was always "correcting" my scripture. Finally I asked her how she could be so certain that her version of the Bible was the correct one when when it didn't come into existence until the 1940s and the man who wrote it never had access to the original transcripts written by the disciples.

My Bible, I told her, was translated from the original texts by a TEAM of men who kept one another accountable for the accuracy of the word. I told her she wasn't basing her salvation on the Gospel, but on one man's idea of salvation. You should be able to get a booklet from your local Christian store that explains this much more coherently.

Stacy Lynn said...

My friend that was helping me out yesterday sent me an article about the NWT bible. I can send it to anyone if they're interested. Not only did it not exist until then, but they rewrite stuff all the time to make it fit. Like all the times they've said the world was ending and it didn't. :P

Beth Zimmerman said...

Continuing to pray with you, Stacy! God has a plan. Your job is simply to plant and water ... He gives the increase!

quilly said...

I love the apple analogy. I wish I had heard it while I was still leading Sidewalk Sunday School!


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