Diving Deeply into Doctrine of Trinity

Are you planning to celebrate the Trinity this Sunday?  How will your church celebrate what many have believed throughout the history of Christendom to be “the most significant day on the Church Calendar”?  Does your church even celebrate events from the historical, liturgical “Church Calendar”? … or is your church calendar simply an online depository for potlucks, small groups, deacons meetings, and retreats?

Although the term “Trinity” never occurs in Scripture, the concept of a “three–in–one God” is found throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  Unfortunately, this may be The Most Important Christian Doctrine You Don’t Think About.”  That’s what Kevin DeYoung, pastor, professor and chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition believes in an article by that title.  Click on the title for a link to his article.

Rather than attempting to write an exhaustive defense of this classic Christian doctrine, this blog post will simply offer four resources you can explore on your own, starting with Kevin DeYoung’s article above.

We believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
begotten from the Father before all ages,
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made;
of the same essence as the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary,
and was made human.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered and was buried.
The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again with glory
to judge the living and the dead.
His kingdom will never end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life.
He proceeds from the Father and the Son,
and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.
He spoke through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look forward to the resurrection of the dead,
and to life in the world to come. Amen.

This is the “Nicene Creed,” originally adopted in the city of Nicaea (present–day Iznik, Turkey) by the First Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325.

Kevin Giles is an Australian author and retired Anglican priest who has written,

  • The Nicene Creed is the definitive account of the doctrine of the Trinity for more than two billion Christians.  It is binding on all Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Reformed Christians.  These two billion believers agree that anyone who denies what is taught in the Nicene Creed stands outside the catholic faith, and any community of Christians that rejects what the Nicene Creed teaches is by definition a sect of Christianity.
  • Be assured, I do not place this creed or any other creed or confession above Scripture in authority or on an equal basis with Scripture.  For me, and for two billion Christians, this creed expresses what the church has agreed is the teaching of Scripture.  I believe every single statement in this creed reflects what the Bible says or implies.  In my view, we have in this creed the most authoritative interpretation of what Scripture teaches on the Father–Son relationship.

Giles delivered a lengthy academic address during a plenary session of last November’s meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) in San Antonio, Texas.  Present at that session were other speakers whom Giles sought to rebut concerning their views of the Trinity, specifically the interrelationships between all three Persons in the Godhead.  His paper is long and heady at times, but fascinating, and well worth reading.  A link to the address is here: Evangelicals and the Trinity

Ian Paul, from the U.K., researches, writes and speaks from a blogging platform called Psephizo [ψηφίζω], a Greek verb meaning “to calculate, work out or reckon.”  It’s rooted in the noun psephos meaning “pebble,” which would have been used to do such calculations.  A trained mathematician, Ian adds two more resources that will aid your understanding of this vital doctrine of the Trinity:

No matter what your personal faith tradition might be, or how you plan to celebrate it this Sunday, the final four verses of the apostle Paul’s second letter to the churches at Corinth are a fitting benediction for all who are following the footsteps of Jesus …

“Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like–minded, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.  Greet one another with a holy kiss.  All the saints greet you.  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:11–14)

Peace & Joy!

~ tr

One thought on “Diving Deeply into Doctrine of Trinity

  1. Hey Tim! Thanks for the liturgically timely article. The confessional/credal “ballast” is what attracted me to a Reformed communion. Trinitarianism is Christological. (Don’t you love how our Lord “messed” with the settled theology of His day by simply being Himself?) So I’ve always loved the first two questions of the Heidelberg Catechism that reflects a Christological Trinitarianism of Son-Father-Spirit. No worries about confessional traditions; we’ve always thought of those creeds as subordinate and secondary to Scripture.
    Soli Deo Gloria!
    Larry

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