Wednesday, April 05, 2006

My Trinity

"Today most Western Christians are practical modalists," so says Robert Letham in his book The Holy Trinity. A modalist is someone who sees the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit not as three persons of the one Godhead but different roles that the one God plays. So at sometimes God is the Father, when He came in the flesh He was the Son, and after the Son's resurrection He now plays the role of the Holy Spirit. What Letham is suggesting is that today many Protestants do not have a functioning view of the doctrine of the trinity. And sadly most do not realize it.

The doctrine of the trinity is, to be sure, an intellectually hard doctrine. But most have neglected it, not because it is hard to understand but because it is hard to see its relevance. "Why does this doctrine matter?" Most are willing to accept it, believe it, affirm it, and even occassionally speak of it, but few see any importance in it. The truth, however, is that if we do not have a functioning view of the doctrine of the triune God then we do not have a view of the Biblical God.

It is not enough simply to worship the one, true, and living God, we must do so with an understanding that He is three persons. So Letham writes, "Prominent aspects of the church’s doctrine of the trinity have often been derided or neglected as unbiblical speculation…It is worth contrasting this with Gregory Nazianzen, the great Cappadocian of the fourth century, who spoke of ‘my trinity,’ saying, ‘When I say “God,” I mean Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." The worship of the true, and living, and only God must be recognize the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is one of the major shortcomings of much of modern Western worship. Flip through your hymnal or song book and you'll find that a majority of our worship songs could be sung by a deist, Jew, or even Muslim. Why? Because they simply refer to God as "Lord," rarely ever identifying Him as the triune God of the Bible. This is not distinctly Christian worship.

There is much more that can be said on this subject, but I will leave it for another day. Simply to conclude I will say that the more I am studying the doctrine of the trinity the more I am realizing how central it is to Christian monotheism and how neglected it is to Christian modern worship and pietistic life. I call... for Reformation!


Anonymous Yonathan David said...

Do you want hymns to use the word trinity? If so, I wonder how many words rhyme with trinity :) Divinity? Interesting blog.

9:27 AM  

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