2/28/13 Sayeed, about 65
Today I met with a man named Sayeed for our second follow-up conversation since I first reached out to him on the sidewalk about two weeks ago. He is a visiting college professor from Iran, where he is also a well-known author and guest lecturer in certain technical fields. He has pored over and marked up the Gospel booklet I gave him with all sorts of notes in the margins, and wanted to meet again to discuss his questions about Christianity. Our questions have centered around the concept of the Trinity, which he has tried to wrap his head around. If you can imagine praying faithfully five times every day for over 50 years, chanting phrases about how there is only one God, and how He alone is worthy of worship, you might then understand why Sayeed views Jesus’ claims of deity with suspicion and contempt. Our concept of the Trinity is indeed hard to understand and even harder to explain as we search for different analogies to illustrate it, like the three different forms of water, or the sun, sunlight, and warmth of the sun, or St. Patrick’s three-leafed clover. But for me, the best way I can explain it is to focus on the perfect unity between the Father, Son, and Spirit. I told Sayeed “If three people had absolute, perfect agreement of wills, would they really be three or one?” I believe Jesus spoke of this perfect unity in passages like John 14:23-24: “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” Although the word “Trinity” isn’t found in the Bible, the concept is found throughout, beginning with God’s plural statement in Genesis of “Let us make man in our image” to New Testament instances where Father, Son, and Spirit all appear together in the same passage, or Jesus’ many claims of divinity. It is an essential aspect of the biblical Jesus, and separates orthodox Christian beliefs from that of cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses or the unbiblical teachings of Islam, both of which have no worthy sacrifice for our sins and require good works to try to make up the difference. Sayeed seems like a nice man, but he too is a sinner who needs none other than repentance and faith in the only Son of God for the forgiveness of his sins. Please pray for him. Of course his salvation is most important, but I can’t help but think about the tremendous platform he would have for the Gospel back in Iran!