Psalms 133:1 How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! NRSV
Could there be anything more desired by a person than to live in a family where each person is treated with respect and is loved, cherished and valued?
The Bible tells us that it is good and pleasant for kindred or family to live together in unity. Living in unity is a dream that all people yearn for, yet living in unity seems extremely elusive.
Most people live or have lived in environments where there have been clashes between family members. One or more family members seem to dominate and the rest feel that their lives are being made a complete misery through an overbearing or forceful spirit.
When husband, wife and children are regularly engaged in arguments and fighting, it must be evident that the members of the family do not have a true sense of their position in the family. When flat mates are often clashing, it stems from a lack of knowledge of how our Father in heaven desires His children to order themselves to receive the maximum blessing.
Our perception of how to live in community comes ultimately from how we perceive relationships work. The first place we look to know how relationships work is the relationship between God and His Son. Their relationship is the cornerstone of all relationships in the universe. What we understand God to be like in character and identity we will naturally strive to become and it is for this reason that how we understand the person of Jesus will define how we relate to those around us. In the person of Jesus we find the definition of how we relate to authority and how we perceive equality.
Joh 10:29,30 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.
The oneness that the Father and Son share is the secret for oneness and unity in family and community. Notice what Jesus prayed in John 17
John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
For us to be one, we must perceive and understand the oneness of the Father and His Son.
This is where there is a sharp divide in understanding. Within the Adventist Church is held the prevailing view that Jesus and the Father are one in the sense they share the same gifts and purposes. The terms Father and Son do not reflect their actual relationship but are titles used for our benefit. The Trinity of Adventism is deemed to be an expression of egalitarian harmony of equals. This equality is based in the powers and gifts that each member possesses. Dr Samuel Bacchiocchi pinpointed this view when he stated:
…the biblical view of the Trinity as perfect communion of the Three, gives rise to a community of believers with a variety of gifts that are valued and exercised as expressing the communion of the Trinity itself. (EndTime Newsletter No. 147)
The God revered and worshipped in Adventism is a God that maintains perfect communion through the appreciation of their variety of gifts that are valued and exercised for the benefit of the others in the group. This perception of communion removes any notion of true authority as all members are really equal and submission is something that is enacted as an example of how to live, yet the reality is that all are equal and there is no ultimate authority outside of the group of three. The Father’s authority is allowed or granted by the other members. The Father wields a delegated authority for which He is in debt to the Son and Spirit.
This view of God is devoid of a true perception of submission to ultimate authority. There is no ultimate authority portrayed in the God that is worshipped. There is only mutual appreciation, respect and love based upon the inherent gifts shared with the group.
In contrast the Bible presents Jesus as truly the Son of God by inheritance. The Son inherited all He possesses from the Father.
Heb 1:1-4 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (3) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; (4) Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
Col 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
The Son revealed to us in the Bible was made equal with the Father by the Father’s ultimate authority and Word. The Son of God has the capacity to be Equal with the Father because He is the only one in the universe who has the capacity to know the Father as the Father knows Him.
John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father:
The Son is truly in submission to the Father and lives happily under His ultimate authority. The Father’s ultimate and sovereign authority makes the Son equal with Himself. The oneness they share is that of a true Father with a true Son.
God is the Father of Christ; Christ is the Son of God. To Christ has been given an exalted position. He has been made equal with the Father. All the counsels of God are opened to His Son. 8T 268
In this Father and Son relationship we have the keys to how human civilization must pattern itself for God said to His Son – Let us Make man in our image.
“After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, the Father and Son carried out their purpose, which was designed before the fall of Satan, to make man in their own image. They had wrought together in the creation of the earth and every living thing upon it. And now God says to his Son, ‘Let us make man in our image.’” 1SP 24
“God, in counsel with his Son, formed the plan of creating man in their own image.” RH 24 Feb 1874.
Husband and wife are patterned on Father and Son. If we believe in the Trinity as expressed in the Adventist fundamentals, then this translates into a man who is a figure head authority yet is devoid of any real authority and the wife role plays submission yet is not actually subordinate to the husband. Could such a relationship observed by children cause potential confusion and identity conflict?
If the God we worship places Jesus in true submission to the Father and yet made equal in the relationship with the Father, then this will translate to a wife living in true submission to her husband and the husband ensuring that the wife is equal to Himself through the relationship.
The contrast between Trinity and true Father and Son could not be more marked in its impact in the home. The Trinity offers no true picture of subordination; it offers no true role model for subordination; it offers no hope for us created beings that know we received everything from the Father and therefore we cannot be truly appreciated and blessed by Him because our perception of equality is based on inherent gifts and abilities rather than a true headship and submission relationship.
The Trinity at its core is hostile and antagonistic to true family values. It strips husbands of true headship and robs the wife of true blessing and relational equality. The wife is forced to seek oneness through her varied gifts and talents. If she can’t produce the goods then it is hard to be truly appreciated.
The Trinity worshipped as expressed by Dr Bacchiochi and echoed by most in Adventism has no real place for children, those who are truly subordinate. The Trinity only makes room for those to be appreciated who have gifts and talents, it knows nothing of true subordination, it can only demonstrate it synthetically, it can’t live it organically.
Children need an organic role model of submission to truly learn how to live in subjection to parental authority. If the wife and mother is synthetically submitting to her husband yet organically considering herself a power or gift-based equal then the children will model this synthetic hypocrisy. They will learn to feign submission where needed and to exert power based equality when it can be achieved. This is a perfect recipe for clashes and fights to occur within the family which consequently spill into the wider community.
Jesus the Son of the Living God is the true, original and organic expression of submission, obedience and trust in the ultimate authority of the Father. His life is the pattern for every other creature in the universe. In Him we live and move and have our being. Hence Jesus is the everlasting Father of all those who lovingly submit to the one true God – the Father. Acts 17:28; Isa 9:6; John 17:3
Elijah is calling families to look to the true Father and Son relationship as the only pattern for families and communities to live by. Will you seek for family unity through a worship of the egalitarian hyper democratic Trinity that removes all vestiges of true authority and submission or will you worship the Father and His Son as the expression of true oneness; as the expression of true equality and as the only expression of true submission to authority.
Jesus is the only name under heaven where by we can know true submission and therefore obtain true blessing from the Father. The Son of God makes certain our acceptance with the ultimate authority of the universe: Therefore Jesus says to us I ascend to My Father and your Father, My God and your God. John 20:17. We are accepted in the Beloved Eph 1:6