Evangelism flows from the Trinity – extract from ‘Evangelism and Apologetics’ Seminary module
The following is an extract from our Seminary Course module ‘Evangelism and Apologetics’.
Through the missions of the Trinity, revealed in the scriptures, creatures can know that Father, Son and Holy Spirit exist in self-sufficient glory, love, life and bliss as the one God. This God is therefore the blessed God. The gospel is the good news of the blessed God of love and life (1 Timothy 1:11). The gospel is God gone public! The good news is not just what God has done but who God is for reconciled sinners. The good news is this: this blessed God not only created humans to share his life, love and bliss; this blessed God has come to fallen humanity, in the person of the Son, to redeem dead sinners and reconcile us to himself, in order for us to share in his life, love and blessing.
To know God and the one he sent is eternal life (John 17:3), because knowing God means communion with the God who is life in himself (John 5:26).
How does this inform our understanding of evangelism? As we’ve seen, evangelism is the proclamation of the person and work of the Son of God. It is therefore the message of the external works of the Trinity – of redemption and reconciliation – which flow from the inner life of the Trinity. This is amazing.
It means, first, that evangelism is God’s project. The proclamation of the gospel is the Triune God’s self-communication to his creatures.
Secondly, it follows, that as we hold out the message of the person and work of Christ, by faith and repentance, fallen creatures can commune with the God who is fullness of love and life in himself, in the Son. We can know his perfect life, as John Webster writes, quoting from Colossians:
He is the dwelling place of the utter plenitude of God, the one ‘in whom all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell’ (1.19), God’s perfect life present in matter and time. ‘In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily’ (2.9)*.
Because of the identity of the person of Jesus, we really can know the blessed God who exists as all-sufficient life and love in himself. In bodily form, God meets us to redeem us from sin and slavery to Satan (1 John 3:8), to give us life under his rule. This is who we proclaim in the gospel, or rather, this is the one who communicates himself to us in his gospel, whenever and wherever his word is proclaimed.
When we trace the identity of Jesus of Nazareth, we find our way back up into the nature of God himself. The content of the gospel is the person and work of Jesus; therefore, the origin of the gospel is the inner life of God.
* John Webster, God without measure: working papers in Christian theology volume II (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2016), p.7.