As this last Sunday was Trinity Sunday, it came over me that I should tell you this true story. It is a bit of history related to me by two reputable people who repeated it over the years. The story did not change.
The Christian church generally uses one of three creeds during worship: the Apostles Creed, The Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed (named after Athanasius). The Athanasian Creed is the longest, and, dare I say it, the hardest. It describes God, the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, Spirit — in immense detail. The Athanasian creed’s purpose was to fight heresy. All three of the ecumenical creeds listed above are available free online. They are also often in church hymnals and might be in catechetical materials.
But let’s get back to the story of the man and the woman out on a date a long time ago. They were both raised in the church, but the man went off to college and became something of an unbeliever. He had a Philosophy professor who made him question his faith. He came away from that experience as an agnostic. He wasn’t sure that he believed in God. He doubted many things about God, as described in the Bible.
But he goes out on this date with a young woman. She was no slouch intellectually, and they started talking about God. It got a little interesting because she was a smart cookie, and he started spouting his questions about God’s existence. It became clear that they should pull off to the side of the road and talk it out.
It was not a short conversation, and then the Police came. The Police car pulled up behind them. The Policeman walked up to the driver’s car window, shown a flashlight in the car, and asked the young couple what they were doing on this lonely stretch of road on the outskirts of town. Their reply was decidedly truthful. “You wouldn’t believe us if we told you.”
The Policeman told them to move along, which they did. The culmination of that evening’s debate was this: she eventually persuaded him. In time he believed what scripture said about the existence of God. Still, further, he believed in the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as described in scripture and the creeds.
What a relief! Personally, I am very thankful for that. Otherwise, that couple might never have gotten together. Had that calamity happened — my three older brothers and I would not have been born. Not everyone’s parents debate Trinitarian theology on dates, parked at the side of the road, and questioned by the Police. But I am thankful that mine did — and that Athanasius (and Love) — won the day!
Ed and I were just talking about this on Trinity Sunday…I don’t think it was a coincidence!
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