Binitarians No More

By Andy McQuitty

I’m so excited in these days about where God is leading IBC. And because I’m excited about where God is leading IBC, I’m also very keen that our church be done with functional “binitarianism” and become full-on Trinitarians in our ecclesiology. All of which is to say, please let’s all use the spiritual gitfts every believer at IBC has received for the common good! 

Paul the Apostle writes in 1 Corinthians 12:13: 
For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

The baptism of the Spirit is the ministry by which Jesus Christ places us into His Body, the Church. The third member of the Holy Trinity unites the church into a dynamic organism called the Body of Christ because He is not just with us (like Jesus was). He is in us. . . comforting, counseling, blessing, leading, and helping us as a Body to display the reconciliation, holiness, love and beauty of the Kingdom of God to a lost and hurting world! He does this by giving spiritual gifts, “charismata,” to all believers who make up the Church. Using those gifts is key to the health and ministry of the whole church going forward. As the great Dr. J.I. Packer observed:

“The Christian’s life in all its aspects—intellectual and ethical, devotional and relational, upsurging in worship and outgoing in witness—is supernatural; only the Spirit can initiate and sustain it. So apart from him, not only will there be no lively believers and no lively congregations, there will be no believers and no congregations at all.”

The converse is also true. With the Holy Spirit empowering every Christ-follower at IBC, there will be more and more believers and a congregation more and more lively! And why is that? Because a “lively” congregation is a Spirit-balanced congregation in which many people using a variety of gifts empowers the whole Body to become and do more than the same number of individual believers could ever do on their own! 

Boys in the Boat is the thrilling true story of the 1936 University of Washington crew team, which went from backwater obscurity to a gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Few sports carry the aristocratic pedigree of crews from Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. But no one imagined that a crew from Washington, of all places, could be competitive. And yet author Daniel James Brown shows how the University of Washington built a team from kids raised on farms, in logging towns, and near shipyards. They blew away their Californian rivals and bested the cream of New England to become the American Olympic Team and won the gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. This ragtag team of Americans won Olympic gold by maintaining a sense of unity amidst diversity. Here's how author Daniel James Brown explains how eight individuals of varying statures, physiques, and personalities capitalize on their diversity:

“[Races] are won by crews, and great crews are carefully balanced blends of both physical abilities and personality types… A crew composed entirely of eight amped-up, overtly aggressive oarsmen will often degenerate into a dysfunctional brawl in a boat or exhaust itself in the first leg of a long race. Similarly, a boatload of quiet but strong introverts may never find the common core of fiery resolve that causes the boat to explode past its competitors when all seems lost. Good crews are good blends of personalities: someone to lead the charge, someone to hold something in reserve; someone to pick a fight, someone to make peace; someone to think things through, someone to charge ahead without thinking. Somehow all this must mesh. That's the steepest challenge. Even after the right mixture is found, each man or woman in the boat must recognize his or her place in the fabric of the crew, accept it, and accept the others as they are. It is an exquisite thing when it all comes together in just the right way” (Boys on the Boat, Penguin Books, 2014).

It is indeed “an exquisite thing when it all comes together in just the right way”, and that’s precisely what the Holy Spirit wants to happen at IBC as individual believers get involved with other brothers and sisters in The Body and use their gifts for the common good. At our salvation, all of us were given the one Spirit to drink. So, let’s drink shall we? And Katie bar the door, who knows what will happen when a bunch of true Spirit-filled Trinitarians step up!

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