The Godhead three-in-one

Series Five – Structure
Theme = God’s way for family, church, and society
‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ Matthew 28:19
In the early days of my local church, I ran a theology class for leaders and others who were interested. On the first evening, about sixty people crowded into my lounge. “Wow!” I thought, “This is great!”. At the end of the evening I set the first assignment. I handed out a three page-long copy of an entry from a theological dictionary on Oneness Pentecostalism and I asked them to critique the doctrine. The next week there were only thirty people there and they all had a look of puzzled desperation on their faces.
Oneness Pentecostalists believe that there is no Holy Trinity, that God is not three-in-one. Granted, the doctrine of the Trinity is impossible to grasp fully, because we humans just cannot conceptualise a multidimensional being like God. However, the biblical evidence is strong, and so we accept the doctrine of the Trinity as true and try to understand it as best we can. 
One of the things that the concept of the Trinity highlights to us is that in the very essence of God Himself is structure and relationship. The three personages of the Godhead are structurally united as one being, yet also have relationships with one another. In the Trinity we find authority and submission relationships within a unity of absolute equality. God the Father is the ‘head’ of the Trinity, God the Son is in submission to the Father, and God the Holy Spirit is in submission to both Father and Son. Headship and submission have to do with functionality and relational harmony, yet do not infer superiority of one over the other.
The structures that God has established for the family and church, and by extension society, are all patterned on the divine structure found in the triune Godhead. God made humankind in His own image and then extended that ‘image’ into the foundational institutions of human society.
Can you imagine a partnership where the two are absolutely equal yet one is in submission to the other? Actually, you should be able to… it’s called a married couple. And a large group of people where a few have authority yet are no better or superior in any way to all the others? It’s called a church.

Picture of Christopher Peppler

Christopher Peppler



1 thought on “The Godhead three-in-one”

  1. Something else that comes to mind when considering the Trinity is the likelihood of man coming up with such a concept. It is so confounding, in fact, impossible to explain; there is not a single analogy that I can think off nor a mathematical equation that adequately explains the Trinity, the three-in-one God head, as revealed in the Bible. Accordingly, if such a concept is of no human imagining, then surely, it is further evidence of a great God! Who would ever expect to be able to understand God?

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.