Keith Green, Holy, Holy, Holy (1982)
Keith Green had a great number of songs that I really liked, but this one—his rendition of the classic hymn—was used by God to solidify my belief in the Trinity, or in the words sung by Keith’s soaring voice, “God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity.”
Some time before this, I had embraced an erroneous “Oneness Pentecostal” view of the Godhead. In the variation I was (mis)taught, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were three “ages” of God’s dealing with man. This led to my faith in Jesus being very unstable for a time. I still remember in 1985 when I shared this “revelation” with a friend who was a Methodist minister. He answered by pointing out the most obvious contradiction: if the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were only three “ages” of God, what was the Holy Spirit doing in the second verse in the Bible (Genesis 1:2, hovering over the waters), in the “age of the Father”? And the heretical house of cards came tumbling down.
But at this point, I only assented to the Trinity doctrine, and pushed it to the back of my mind. Then I heard this hymn sung by Green three years later, the last track on his Songs for the Shepherd album (released shortly after his death in an airplane crash in 1982). For some reason, it REALLY got my attention, and forced me to totally reexamine the Trinity doctrine in the light of the Bible. What I found was that the more I examined what the Bible says on the Godhead, the more contradictory I found the Oneness view—and the more in harmony with the Scriptures I found the Trinitarian view. This, in turn, solidified my faith in the Lord Jesus, and my Christian walk became noticeably stronger as a result.
If you want to examine this issue for yourself, a good friend of mine has a blog site you can visit: www.pastorcraigsblog.blogspot.com. Just several points from me on this: 1) How can Oneness proponents explain the Father and Jesus speaking in the place at the same time, such as in Matthew 3:15-17 and John 12:27-30? (Ventriloquism maybe?) 2) When I once pointed out to a Oneness proponent that Jesus prayed to His Heavenly Father, he responded that Jesus only did this as “an example” for believers. The problem with this view is that Jesus is STILL praying to His Father in heaven, on our behalf (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25 and 9:24; 1 John 2:1). 3) When Oneness proponents quote Revelation 4:2 to say there was “only one throne in heaven, and One sitting on it,” they need to read a little further down in Revelation 5:6-7, where the Lamb appears (see John 1:29) and takes the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sits on the throne (also, the Holy Spirit appears in the scene as the “seven Spirits,” signifying His fullness, in Revelation 4:5 and 5:6).
For further reading on this, Pastor Craig’s blog has some really good books. Several others I recommend are: God in Three Persons by E. Calvin Beisner, which traces the development of the Trinity belief back to the early church (Beisner also demonstrates that there was a Greek word for the Trinity used in the church in the early second century, within several decades of the Apostle John’s death); Why You Should Believe in the Trinity by Robert Bowman, which is an answer to Jehovah’s Witnesses, but is an excellent basic resource on Trinity doctrine; and another book called God in Three Persons by Carl Brumback. I’ve also written a booklet, The Truth About the Trinity, a direct answer to a popular Oneness tract; if you would like a copy, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.