The Mystery of the Trinity
There are several monotheistic religions and even more polytheistic religions, but the witness of the Scripture and the Christian faith is that God is both one and three.
As Berkhof explains, if we depart from the specific teachings of Scripture and begin to speculate about the nature of the Trinity, it is very easy to fall into error. If one denies the unified essence of being of the three Persons, it will inevitably lead to tritheism (the belief in three separate and distinct... Continue Reading
The Primacy of the Trinity in Theology and Apologetics: Herman Bavinck on Trinitarian Dogma
The pursuit of a faithful systematic theology begins and ends with the doctrine of the Trinity.
The orthodox doctrine of the Trinity is a package deal for Bavinck, it must come as a whole or not be useful to us at all. It also connects for us dots from theology proper to the other loci of systematic theology, including the doctrines of revelation and creation. For these reasons, indeed, it is... Continue Reading
The Fourth Person of the Trinity?
“Don’t try to stand in the place of God and do what only God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit can do in someone’s life.”
While we want to be faithful as pastors and spiritually fruitful congregants to help those entrusted to our care–as well as members of the same body, we must ever guard against allowing ourselves to slide into a role that God hasn’t given to us–a role that only He possesses. When I was an intern... Continue Reading
The Trinity Is Not a Contradiction
Classically the Trinity was defined in these terms: God is one in essence, and three in person.
The formula is not meant to say that essence and person are the same things. Essence refers to the being of God, while person is used here as substance within being. Essence is primary and persona is secondary. Essence is the similarity, while personal is the dissimilarity in the nature of God. He is unified in... Continue Reading
Delighting in the Trinity
The Trinity is not some awkward add-on to God, the optional extra nobody should want
“John Calvin once wrote that if we try to think about God without thinking about the Father, Son, and Spirit, then “only the bare and empty name of God flits about in our brains, to the exclusion of the true God.” Quite so, and that means that if we content ourselves with speaking of God... Continue Reading
The Trinity, The Assembly, and Sweet Potatoes
It seems like everyone and their dog is hearing “the voice of God” these days.
“Hearing the voice of God” used to be the mark of a prophet of God, but over the last century or so, it’s slowly become the mark of a “mature believer.” These days, “conservative” folk (like Beth Moore or Francis Chan) regularly suggest that God speaks to them…not in audible voices, but definitely in some... Continue Reading
Appreciating the Trinity
The doctrine of the Trinity isn’t a marginal or secondary doctrine appended to our belief in Christ, as if we can remain neutral to the Father or the Spirit.
The Trinity is central to our Christian identity. Jesus said, “Go therefore 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). To be baptized into something is to be identified with–to be named in relation to (see 1 Corinthians... Continue Reading
What’s the Difference Between the Ontological and the Economic Trinity?
If I said, “Describe for me the difference between the ontological Trinity and the economic Trinity,” would you be able to do it?
“Ontology is the study of being. When we talk about the ontological Trinity, we are referring to the fact that God is three in one. There are three persons in the Godhead—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—who together are one being. The ontological structure of the Trinity is a unity. When we speak... Continue Reading
Review: ‘The Quest for the Trinity’
The doctrine of the Trinity was basically settled by ecumenical consensus in the fourth century
Holmes is concerned to defend the thesis that apart from some relatively minor disagreement and development, the doctrine of the Trinity was basically settled by ecumenical consensus in the fourth century, enjoyed ‘essential stability’ until the eighteenth century, and has been the accepted position of the church, with no significant modification, until the modern period... Continue Reading