第二课 信条一 论神
在这节课中，我们会发现，整本圣经对谁是独一真神的教导是统一的。 我们将认识并远离古代以及今天很多人所拜的假神； 我们将更明确地向朋友介绍谁是真神，以及神对他们的大爱。 求神祝福我们的思想和心灵，使我们渴望为上帝而活。 我们的开篇经文是：哥林多后书5：14-15
1] Our churches are united in teaching what the Council of Nicaea decreed: it is true that there is only one divine being, but there are three persons; and that this should be believed without a doubt. 2] In other words, there is one divine being, which is called God and which truly is God. He is eternal, has no body, has no parts, has all power, wisdom, and goodness. He is the maker and preserver of all things, both visible and invisible. 3] Yet there are also three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are of the same being and power and are equally eternal. We use the word person in the same way the early Christians used it. 4] It does not mean a part or quality of another being but something that exists in and of itself.
5] Our churches condemn all heresies that have sprung up against this teaching, such as the Manicheans, who taught there were two divine beings, one good and the other evil. We also condemn the Valentinians, Arians, Eunomians, Muslims, and all others like them. 6] We also condemn the ancient and modern followers of Paul of Samosata. They claim that there is only one divine person. Through clever and ungodly reasoning, they argue that the Word [Christ] and the Holy Spirit are not distinct persons, but that “Word” means only a spoken word, and that “Spirit” refers to a movement within created beings.
5] 我们教会谴责所有与这一教导相悖的异端，如摩尼教徒。他们教导有两个神，一善、一恶。我们也谴责瓦伦提尼安派，阿里乌派，优诺米派，穆斯林以及其它类似的教派。 6] 我们还谴责古代以及今天信奉撒摩撒他之保罗的信徒，他们认为神只有一个位格。他们通过狡猾不敬虔的推理，认为“道（基督）”和“圣灵”并不是独立的位格/个体，“道”只是说出来的话，而“圣灵”则指被造之物里面的一种活动。
Council of Nicaea: This general assembly of the early church was held in 325 A.D. It clarified the language used to explain the doctrine of the Trinity, and produced the statement of faith that has come to be known as the Nicene Creed.
Divine being: This refers to the being and nature of God, in and of himself.
Person: The term ‘person’ is used to describe each of the three distinct members of the Godhead – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Heresies: False teachings. The Augsburg Confession often clarifies its teaching by contrasting it with opposing beliefs. Ancient heresies tend to reappear in the Church at different times under different names:
Manicheans: followers of an ancient religion that believed in two god-like forces, Good versus Evil that were locked in an eternal struggle with each other.
Valentinians: a group of Gnostic [Christians] from the second century who believed that the Son and the Spirit, among other personified virtues, were merely “emanations” (aeons) from the true God.
Arians: followers of Arius, and influential teacher of the early fourth century who denied the full divinity of Christ, saying he was a lesser being.
Eunomians: Fourth century false teachers who believed that the Son of God did not possess the same divine being as does the Father.
Muslims: Refers to the religion of Islam. They also deny the Trinity.
Followers of Paul of Samosota denied that Jesus is eternal with the Father.
Thought question: What do these many heresies indicate about the doctrine of God?
The true and saving faith begins with God. The Augsburg Confession begins with who the one true God is.
The authors of the Augsburg Confession wanted to demonstrate that their beliefs agreed with what the ancient church believed and taught.
Christians are often separated by distance in this world. Yet all Christians (past and present) are united in the Holy Christian Church through faith in the one true God.
Who is the God of the Bible?
Read Deuteronomy 6:4.
Question: What does this sentence say about “the LORD our God”?
Answer: The LORD is _____.
Read 1 Corinthians 8:4.
Question: Is there any God other than “the LORD our God”?
Answer: _____. There is only one true God.
Just as emphatic as the Bible is about the essence of God being one, so also the Bible is quite emphatic that there are three persons in the one divine being. We call this truth the “Trinity” – three persons, yet one God.
Read Isaiah 48:16.
True or false: This passage mentions the 3 persons of the 1 true God.
Read Acts 5:3-4.
Jehovah Witnesses are a modern day version of the Arians (followers of Arius). The Arians are mentioned in Article 1. The Arians denied that Jesus is true God. The Arians – just like the Jehovah’s Witnesses - also denied that the Holy Spirit is God.
How do these verses (Acts 5:3-4) prove that the Holy Spirit is God?
Regarding the Son, the question is frequently raised whether he is God of equal rank with the Father or whether he is less than the Father. There was, indeed, a time when the Son “humbled himself” and became “obedient” to the Father, even to death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). But this very fact shows that originally he was equal with God. He is not God of second rank, but he and the Father are one.
“We worship one God in three persons and three persons in one God, without mixing the persons or dividing the divine being…yet they are not three Gods, but one God…And within this Trinity none comes before or after; none is greater or inferior, but all three persons are coequal and coeternal” (Athanasian Creed).
Review of Article 1 – About God
Prepare your answers so we can review Article 1 at the start of our next session.
Who is the one true God?
Read Zechariah 2:10-11.
In verse 10, who is the person who says “I am coming and I will live among you”? (See Zechariah 9:9 or Matthew 21:4-5 for additional help.)
Who is this person according Zechariah 2:10?
In verse 11 who is the person of the Trinity who is named “the LORD Almighty”?
How can you use these verses to show your friend that the Old Testament reveals the mystery that the true and only God is the Triune God?
Read Matthew 28:19
How does the word “name” indicate the unity of the 3 persons of God?
Read Ephesians 2:18
Explain: This passage reveals how important each of the 3 persons of the Trinity is to us.
Many have denied the Trinity in many different ways and for many different reasons. Some false teachers have stated that the Old Testament has no indication of a Triune God in it. Use only the Old Testament to teach the doctrine of the Trinity.
Passages that can help you include the following:
- Genesis 1:26-27
- Numbers 6:22-27
- Isaiah 6:3
- Isaiah 48:16
- Isaiah 61:1 (Compare Luke 4:16-21)
- Zechariah 2:10-11
Mention some religions which may appear to be Christian [because they claim to teach from the Bible] but in fact these religions do not worship the true and only God.
Reading Assignment for Next Session 下节课阅读任务
Augsburg Confession 奥格斯堡宣言
Article 2: About Original Sin 信条2：关于原罪2
1] Our churches also teach that since Adam’s fall into sin, all men who are fathered in the normal physical way are conceived and born with sin. This means that they are born without the fear of God, without trust in God, and with evil desires. 2] This disease, or original sin, truly is sin. It condemns and brings eternal death to those not born again through Baptism and the Holy Spirit.
1] 我们教会也教导, 由于亚当犯罪, 所有从肉身而生的人就都在成胎和出生时有了罪。这意味着他们生来就对上帝没有敬畏，没有信靠，却带着邪恶的欲望。2] 这种疾病或原罪是真实的罪。对于那些没有通过洗礼和圣灵而重生的人，这就定了他们的罪，并带来永远的死亡。
3] Our churches condemn the followers of Pelagius and all others who deny that original sin is truly sin. Such people argue that humans can be justified before God by their own strength and reason. This lessens the glory of Christ’s work and its benefits.
Optional Reading Assignment for Next Session
The Apology to (the defense of) the Augsburg Confession Article 2 (1) Original Sin
The English translation can be found at 你可以在以下网址找到英译本：http://bookofconcord.org/defense_2_originalsin.php#article2