The Trinity

The Trinity

The Trinity

The Trinity

Synopsis

Provides a clear, user-friendly guide to the doctrine of the Trinity.

Excerpt

An introduction to the doctrine of the Trinity can begin in many ways. We have chosen a historical introduction, for we feel that the history of this doctrine is essential to any responsible contemporary understanding of the church’s teaching on this topic. We begin at the beginning with the early Christian theologians.

Patristic trinitarian theology is grounded in a number of significant foundations. First and foremost among these is the Scripture itself, both the Hebrew scriptures and the collection of documents now known as the New Testament. In addition, early liturgies, short creedal statements, worship practices, and the overarching rule of faith of the early church provided resources and guidelines for key church fathers as they contemplated the reality of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. Both the practices and documents of the church finally led early Christian leaders to propose a trinitarian model of God, but the formation of this model took place over many years and in many contexts. As the Christian community worshiped, studied, prayed, and meditated it increasingly realized that the God whom it encountered in Jesus Christ was mysterious and complex in a manner that defied human comprehension and linguistic analysis. The conclusion of the church, reached in ecumenical council toward the end of the fourth century CE, was that God must exist as both a unity and a trinity.

Fourth-century theologians such as Athanasius argued that the Scripture, the practice of the church in worship, and the drama of salvation itself demonstrated the necessity for a trinitarian view of God. Athanasius, Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nazianzus were one in their contention . . .

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