This is not to say that, God forbid, we are passing judgment on Jesus! We all know He did a great job with so many other things. Never the less, His failure to teach about the Trinity is a glaring omission and one we should not overlook! Thanks be to God for theologians! Theologians who have bravely stepped into the gaping holes Jesus left in His teachings! We have filled them to the brim with our own intellectual ability and scholarly language. We were compelled to write our own creeds and parables out of necessity! Fortunately for everyone we are really good at it. Let’s all thank God for that!
Audience: Gasp! We never thought about that before! Yes indeed! Thank God!
Do “The Secret Things” Really Belong to God?
Tertullian: The Good Book says, “The secret things belong to God but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever.” Perhaps we do “see through a glass darkly” after all. Are we, as some like to say, just pretending to understand the deepest mysteries of God’s very Being? We have to admit we can’t even understand our own wives so how can we claim to have penetrated the deepest mysteries of God’s own Being in eternity past? It almost makes me wonder if we have waded out into water that is over our heads.
A Story About Martin Luther
I do like the story that is told about old Martin Luther. When a student came to him and asked, “What was God doing before He created the world?” Martin Luther replied, “He sat under a birch tree cutting rods for those who ask nosy questions.” Just kidding folks! Everyone knows we have figured out the answers to all those nosy questions. It’s our job!
He’s not really a Church Father, but oh my goodness everyone! Is that Martin Luther I see over there in the corner? Stand up and wave to everyone Brother Marty! I’m glad you got invited even if you weren’t born until many centuries after the Nicene Council. Brother Marty was something of a misfit and a rabble rouser in his day! He had a low opinion of Church Councils but I’m glad he joined us here anyway!
Audience: Nervous laughter.
Theologians Wrote Parables About the Trinity
Tertullian: Let’s get back to business folks. The truth of the matter is that we were forced to craft our own parables to make up for Jesus’ neglect! There is no good reason to downplay the importance of our own parables simply because they have no basis in Jesus’ teachings! Just because something is not in the Bible doesn’t mean it isn’t Biblical! Just because we have done this there is really nothing to worry about! Those ancient scriptural warnings against adding to or taking away from the holy writ clearly do not apply in this case! The need was too pressing and our doctrine was too important for us to do anything less.
Why Didn’t Jesus Explain the Trinity?
You may be wondering why Jesus never gave us a clear explanation of the Trinity. Everyone knows it is the single most important thing we believe! Those who deny it have been banished, ridiculed and killed by those who are smart enough to go along with our dogma. Some have even wondered why Jesus didn’t write a good trinitarian creed Himself and get it done with. Perhaps you are thinking, “But Tertullian, you weren’t even there! You were already dead by the time we met at the Nicene Council!” That may be true my friends but most of what you debated there was based on my writings. That should count for something!
Why Didn’t Jesus Teach Our Parables?
We have written some beautiful parables of our own but why didn’t Jesus teach these Himself? Was He so busy with His earthly ministry that it just slipped His mind? Was He so tired at the end of every day that He didn’t have the energy to bring it up to His disciples? Or… did He intentionally leave us in the dark? Did He know we would come up with some pretty good parables of our own if we had enough time? The best explanation is that He was counting on us to write some parables for Him from the richness of our own imagination! We should be flattered that Jesus never taught on the most important doctrine of the church. He was depending on us to take care of it for Him!
Only Man-made Parables Can Explain the Trinity!
And what magnificent parables we have written! Our parables are easy to understand and they do seem to convey something important. Some of our illustrations are so good I bet Jesus almost wishes He had spoken them Himself! Just because our parables have no basis at all in the scriptures is no reason to mock them. No indeed! Sincere and spiritual people are well advised to take them (and us) very seriously. Let’s take a minute to imagine how it might have looked. What if Jesus had taught the parables that are so widely taught and believed in His church?