Thursday, December 28, 2017

God the Trinity

Biographical Sketch of the Author

Malcom B. Yarnell III is the Director for the Center of Theological Research and Professor of Systematic Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His education includes: “Doctor of Philosophy, Oxford University, 2000; Master of Theology, Duke University, 1996; Master of Divinity with Biblical Languages, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1990; Bachelor of Science, Finance, Summa Cum laude, Louisiana State University in Shreveport, 1986.” He is a contributor to several journals and editor of the Southwestern Journal of Theology. He lives with his wife Karen Annette Search Yarnell and their children in Fort Worth, Texas.1

Summary of the Contents

In writing this book Dr. Yarnell set out to answer two questions: “Is the doctrine that God is trinity a biblical doctrine? Is it, moreover, a doctrine that is necessary to believe?”2 Dr. Yarnell said that evangelical confessions center on the Bible and the Trinity, but there has been little work done to evaluate what the Bible actually says about the Trinity.3 Therefore, he set out to answer these two questions posed by engaging with eight biblical texts.

The first Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Yarnell said that this text is the clearest reference in the Bible for the Trinity. The argument that Yarnell makes in this book, through these eight texts is that “God the Trinity is revealed through word and deed in the Bible.”4 Using this text, the Council of Antioch in AD 314 argued for three persons; the Arians concluded that different names indicate different substances, but Athanasius disagreed on the bases that baptism is a single act done under a single divine agency. He thus referred to Ephesians 4:5, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”5

The second text of scripture is 2 Corinthians 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” Yarnell said that “the grace of God” originates from the Father and comes to humanity through the Son as a substitute. “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are each identified with the movement of grace.” In this text, we see the grace of God in the work of the persons of the Trinity.6

The third text is Deuteronomy 6:4-7a, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons.” Yarnell said, “Deuteronomy literally means ‘second law’ and reveals the contours of the covenantal law between God and Israel.”7 This passage Jesus considered to be the first and greatest commandment; therefore, it is the link between Christianity and Judaism and is the center of Deuteronomic theology which is the center of Old testament theology. This text is import for the Christian to understand who God is and how He should be worshiped. The Lord is God and should be worshiped as one.8

The fourth text is John 1:18, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” This is one of my favorite passages in scripture, because like Yarnell says in this chapter, it proclaims Jesus as God interpreting God.9

The fifth is John 16:14-15, “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” Hear Christ claims that whatever is God’s is His, not only that, but the Spirit has the authority to take from what is God’s. Yarnell further explains the Trinity from the perspective of the entire Gospel of John in this chapter.

The sixth is John 17:21-22, “that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one.” It is the desire of the Son for the church to have the same unity as the Father and Son. In this chapter Yarnell explains the use of metaphors in John’s gospel to explain the Trinity.10

The seventh is Ephesians 1:9-10, “He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.” Darnell says that this text shows the Trinity through economy.11

The eight is Revelation 5:6, “And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.” Darnell said, “The eschatological genre becomes important for theology proper when it is taken into account that the eternal God’s relation to time is not only that of One who stands over the past in creation and the present in providence but of One ‘who is to come’ (Rev 1:4).12

Critical Evaluation

I enjoyed this book, through reading it and the explanations that Yarnell gives of these eight passages of scripture, I have come to a better understanding of the Triune God. These eight passages and the Biblical books that they come from both explain the Trinity in word and deed. Most talk of the Trinity that I have heard up to this point has been historical. Yarnell does speak at times historically, but in every case, he does so to explain how biblically believers in the past came to understand the Trinity as one substance in three Divine persons.

Through the Shema in Deuteronomy chapter six Yarnell showed that God is to be worshipped as one. In Matthew 28 we come to understand God as three persons, yet having one name. Then in the other passages we see that God works as one in three Divine persons. I would recommend this book to anyone serious about knowing and worshipping the Triune God; the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

1 Malcom B. Yarnell III, cdli:wiki,

2 Malcom B. Yarnell III, God the trinity: Biblical Portraits (Nashville: B&H Academic ebook, 2016), 195.

3 Ibid, 188.

4 Ibid, 518.

5 Ibid, 548.

6 Ibid, 829-854.

7 Ibid, 1188.

8 Ibid 1247-1263.

[9 Ibid, 1667.

10 Ibid, 2506-2866.

11 Ibid, 2908.

12 Ibid, 3537.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Essence of Nursing

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Mat.22:36-40)
The essence of nursing is to take up your cross and follow the Lord Jesus Christ; loving your neighbor with complete disregard for your own gratification and needs. Nursing, despite all of our education, despite all of our strivings as professionals; we are first and foremost servants to those in need. Josephine Dolan wrote as quoted “Even after nineteen hundred years it is difficult to fully comprehend the impact of the birth of Jesus Christ and His teaching on society and the care of the sick.”1

This is what I believed the essence of nursing was when I returned to school in 2014, and it is what I believe the essence of nursing is today. I believe that the profession of nursing is in need of reform:
Nurses have evolved from the highly personalized care modeled by founder Florence Nightingale (who organized a unit of 38 women in 1854 for service in the Crimean War) to a modern-day bedside characterized by high-tech equipment, alarms, and digital data. In modern health care, financial implications commonly override considerations of individual needs.2
When I returned to school, my first assignment was to write my personal nursing philosophy, but everything that I was taught after that was “highly structured, technical, and reimbursement-driven.”Where I currently work financial considerations are the name of the game. Almost every message that I receive from management has something to do with financial considerations and it greaves me deeply to read them. Are financial considerations important? Of course, even in an environment that is truly non-profit there would be limited funds to work with, but financials are not the primary consideration for nursing. The primary consideration for nursing is to honor God, exalt Jesus Christ as Lord and seek the best for our neighbors.

1 Mike Peek, “My Doctrine on Nursing is Love,” The Nurse Theologian; July 13, 2014,
2 Betty R. Ferrell and Nessa Coyle, The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Nursing (New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2008), 6.
3 Ibid.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Name in the Incarnation

The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord. Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” (Exo.34:5-7)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God…And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth…No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. (Jn.1:1,14,18)
Both Exodus 33:12-34:9 and the Gospel According to John 1:1-18 are my favorite passages in Scripture. What is in a name? In the ancient Hebrew mind a name wasn’t just what you called someone, it is a statement about who they are as a person. Unlike names in our culture, in the ancient Hebrew mind, a name carries a statement about the nature of the person being named. (Yarnell III 2016)
There is debate about the correct pronunciation of the name; Hebrew “YHWH” is either pronounced Yahweh, Yahveh, Yehovah. Whatever the correct pronunciation actually was, one thing is certain; in the ancient Hebrew mind the name carried with it a statement about the nature of God. That nature of God was declared by God to Moses on Mount Sinai and seen in the Son of God Jesus Christ while He dwelt among us.
The English “Word” in the Gospel According to John has been translated from the Greek “Logos.” Despite all that the Greek Philosophers had to stay about “Logos,” I think by context, what John was saying in the prologue of his gospel account; Jesus is the word spoken to Moses on Mount Sinai become flesh.

God is Love

“The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin.” (Exo.34:6b-7a)
1.     God’s Love is Compassionate: God is concerned for the welfare of those whom he loves. God loves us for our interest not for His. God has need of nothing. Not only is God’s love compassionately given to His elect, but He cares about all of humanity. Jesus said, “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Mat.5:45) God shows mercy to those in need. (Erickson 2013)
2.     God’s Love is Gracious: Speaking about the grace of God Erickson said, “By this we mean that God deals with his people not on the basis of their merit or worthiness, what they deserve, but simply according to their need; in other words, he deals with them on the basis of his goodness and generosity. (Erickson 2013)
3.     God’s Love is Persistent: In our passage, this is described as God’s slowness to anger. The Hebrew words “erek appayim” was translated into Greek “makrothumia” which means patience. (Erickson 2013) In Romans 2:4, 9:22, 1 Peter 3:20, and 2 Peter 3:15 “makrothumia” is rendered “patience.” Each passage speaks of God’s patience in dealing with the sinner. A slight variation of the word in 2 Peter 3:9 reads, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” Our love for one another should look like God’s love, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” (Jn.15:12) The apostles Paul and James both tell us to be patient. (cf. 1Thes.5:14, 2Tim.2:24, Jam.5:7,8) (Erickson 2013)

God is Holy

What do we mean when we say that God is Holy. He is our creator. He is high and lifted up. The psalmist wrote, “Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth.” (Ps.57:5) Because God is Holy He is absolutely good. James said, “Let no one say when he is tempted, I am being tempted by God; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” (Jam.1:13) Job understood that God is Holy, “Surely, God will not act wickedly, And the Almighty will not pervert justice.” (Job.34:12) The prophet Habakkuk 1:13 said,
            Your eyes are too pure to approve evil,
And You cannot look on wickedness with favor.
Why do You look with favor
On those who deal treacherously?
Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up
Those more righteous than they?

God is Truth

The Habakkuk passage combined with Exodus 34:5-7 exposes an apparent contradiction between the love of God and the justice of God. Habakkuk is saying that he does not understand how a God who hates evil can look favorably on those who do evil. I’ll tell you the truth, for a very long time this made no since to me either, that was until I gave up and asked God to show me His glory.
How can God be gracious to whom He will be gracious, yet by no means leave the guilty unpunished? This made no since to me; so, allow me to explain, that you may see the glory of God in Jesus Christ.
Exodus 34:5-7, on one hand you have a God who forgives sin, but on the other hand a God who will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. Which is it? Does God forgive sin or does God punish the guilty and if both how? In order to forgive sin, the one you are forgiving must first of all be guilty. If God forgives the sins of anyone He must leave them unpunished or He has not forgiven their sin.
While contemplating this do not forget that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Rom.3:23) and “the wages of sin is death.” (Rom.6:23a) Certainly, the second half of Romans 6:23 says, “the free gift of God is eternal life,” but how can God give eternal life to any man and stay true to His word given to Adam in the garden? “The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Gen.2:16,17) It appears that if He were to forgive anyone He would have to go back on His word to Adam or if He punished everyone He would have to go back on His promise to be gracious to whom He will be gracious. (cf.Exo.33:19)
The last four words of Romans 6:23 give the answer, “in Christ Jesus our Lord,” but what is it about this Jesus that makes it so that God can forgive sin and uphold His word? “He made Him (Jesus Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2Co.5:21) Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (Jo.10:11) God can forgive the sins of those who believe in and follow Jesus, because Jesus never sinned and willingly took the wages for the sins of His sheep.
Who is this Jesus? The entire Gospel According to John was written, “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (Jo.20:31) Jesus is God in human flesh; throughout the Gospel According to John Jesus demonstrated in both word and deed the attributes of God given to Moses on Mount Sinai.
Why the incarnation? God became man and dwelt amongst us for two main reasons: 1) That we may know Him. 2) To make satisfaction for our sin to God as our substitute. Two of my favorite books deal with the issues of the incarnation and the satisfaction for human sin. I recommended them both: 1) On the Incarnation by Athanasius Bishop of Alexandria (296-373). 2) Cur Deus Homo: Why God Became Man by Anselm Bishop of Canterbury (1033-1109).
I leave you with a quote from each of these great authors: The first is by Athanasius on the subject of knowing Him. The second is by Anselm on the subject of making satisfaction for sin and why the substitute had to be God and not some created being like an angel.
When God the Almighty was making mankind through His own Word, He perceived that they, owing to the limitation of their nature, could not of themselves have any knowledge of their Artificer, the Incorporeal and Uncreated. He took pity on them, therefore, and did not leave them destitute of the knowledge of Himself, lest their very existence should prove purposeless. For of what use is existence to the creature if it cannot know its maker? (Athanasius n.d.)
Do you not perceive that, if any other being should rescue man from eternal death, man would rightly be adjudged as the servant of that being? Now if this be so, he would in no wise be restored to that dignity which would have been his had he never sinned. For he, who was to be through eternity only the servant of God and an equal with the holy angels, would now be the servant of a being who was not God, and whom the angels did not serve. (Anselm 1098)
Anselm and Athanasius


Anselm. Cur Deus Homo: Why God Became Man. Lexington: Beloved Publishing, 2014.
Athanasius. On the Incarnation. Lexington: Fig-Books, n.d.
Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. 3rd. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013.
The Holy Bible: Udated New American Standard Bible. La Habra: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.
Yarnell III, Malcom B. God the Trinity: Biblical Portraits. Nashville: B&H Academic ebook, 2016.

Monday, December 11, 2017

20 Years of Relational Care

On this day (December 11, 1997), 20 years ago, I graduated with the group pictured after spending 2 years with them at Brookhaven College in Farmers Branch, Texas. We all received an Associate of Applied Science-Associate Degree Nursing. Our diplomas, however, read El Centro College, that’s because the Nursing program belonged to El Centro College, we were a satellite group.

I haven’t seen this picture in years. What a ragtag looking group by today’s standards, all wearing outdated uniforms and hairstyles. Much of what we were taught would be considered outdated as well. I wonder what these people are doing today. Are they still nurses? Are any of them still at the bedside?

After graduating I was hired to work on the Medical/Surgical Unit at Doctors Hospital in Dallas, Texas. Doctors Hospital is located at Garland Rd and Buckner Blvd on the east side of White Rock Lake. None of the nurses that graduated with me came to work at this hospital.

In the summer of 1998 Darlene and I decided to move to Colorado, we were both hired to work at the Northern Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, Colorado; I in the Cardiac telemetry unit and she in the operating room. After 1 year on the telemetry unit I decided that I wanted to work in the operating room, but something was missing; therefore, after 1 year in the operating room I went to work in the ICU stepdown.

In the summer of 2001, Darlene and I decided to move back to Texas. We were both hired at Trinity Mother Frances in Tyler, Texas; now Christus Trinity Mother Frances. I began working in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit and she in day surgery. While at Christus Trinity Mother Frances, I spent a 3-year period in the Cardiac-Cath Lab and Electrophysiology labs, but have spent the majority of the past 16 ½ years in the Cardiovascular ICU.

A little over three years ago I decided to go back to school and obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington on December 19, 2015. During that time, I also obtained certifications as a Critical Care Registered Nurse and in Cardiovascular Surgery Recovery.

I am a sinner fallen short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a mercy seat in His blood through faith. (cf. Rom.3:23-25) In April of 2003 God saved me from the penalty of sin which is death, He is presently saving me from the power of sin which is the law, and I trust that on a future date He will save me from the presence of sin which is the resurrection of the body. (cf. 1Co.15:50-58)

On March 14, 2016, I began taking classes at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I am working towards a Master of Theological Studies, because my desire is to know God. I have 6 classes remaining to obtain that degree; Lord willing, I should graduate this time next year.

What to do after graduation? For some time now I have been telling people that I believe nursing is a practical theology. Theology is the study of God. Practical theology is the right application of that knowledge. I recently learned of a branch in practical theology called Relational Care:
The theology of relational care pertains to ministering to the personal needs of others, primarily individuals going through crises of a temporal nature. ... Addressing these needs in relation to theology is generally facilitated in a religious or parachurch environment. (Wikipedia, n.d.)
That description sounds a lot like the way hospitals and nursing began. Why do so many hospitals have a Christian name attached to them, but have no apparent connection to that name today? The theology of relational care is modeled after the ministry and teachings of Jesus Christ. (Wikipedia, n.d.) Jesus spent a great deal of time caring for and healing the sick. (cf. Mar.6:13, Luk.4:40) Jesus taught His disciples; then after rising from the dead He commissioned them to make disciples, baptize them in the name of the Triune God, and teach them to observe all that He commanded them. (cf. Mat.28:16-20) Hospitals and nursing came forth from the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Florence Nightingale is credited for modern nursing theory; her care model was highly personalized with an emphasis on personal touch, fresh air, and silence; she organized a unit of 38 women in 1854 for service in the Crimean War. Today’s hospitals are highly structured, technical, and reimbursement-driven; this is a far cry from Nightingales care model. (Ferrell & Coyle, 2008)

A person that I know who is involved in the ministry of evangelism recently said to me, “For the record: it’s not my responsibility to change the world. It’s my responsibility to preach the gospel to people.” Here is the problem with that kind of thinking; you cannot divorce the Great Commandment from the Great Commission, they are inseparable, one would die without the other.

I plan, Lord willing, to spend the next year working with patients and nurses in the Cardiovascular ICU at the Christus Trinity Mother Frances Louis and Peaches Owens Heart Hospital. Then I plan to transition to nursing education; however and wherever the Lord wills. Whatever I do, may it be for the glory of God and the good of my neighbor.

Works Cited

Ferrell, B. R., & Coyle, N. (2008). The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Nursing. New York: Oxford University Press.

The Holy Bible: Updated New American Standard Bible. (1995). La Habra: The Lockman Foundation.

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Retrieved December 11, 2017, from Theology of Relational Care:

Nursing and the Law of Christ

The Lord’s teaching recorded in John 13-21 is amazing. It is what the apostle Paul calls "the Law of Christ." (Cf. 1 Cor. 9:2...