We're making big changes. Please try out the beta site at beta.ccel.org and send us feedback. Thank you!

Trinitarian Crisis in Popular Evangelicalism

brorito's picture

Several years ago I came to the suspicion that the doctrine of the trinity had fallen on hard times. The lack of empirical indicators to prove such a statement left me only with a suspicion. However, it seemed to me that the doctrine of the trinity didn’t quite get the same recognition as some of the popular teachings like prosperity, morality, self-esteem, and relationships. Yet one cannot deny the perennial nature of the trinity and its related teachings. It doesn't take long before one begins to notice that within contemporary evangelicalism discourses seem to emphasize second order discourses and primary order discourses Christology, God, or the trinity were relegated to secondary status. It seems to me that the sentiment today is that the trinity is a doctrine to be believed not understood which I would say is a CRISIS. Any thoughts?

Stephen_D's picture

Definitely an ignorance on the subject

I'm only 19, but I don't think I've ever heard a single sermon outline the who/what the Trinity is. I go to Asbury University (a Wesley-based school) so I have heard an occasional lecture on it, but most of my understanding comes from my reading the likes of John Calvin, John Gill, Augustine, Aquinas, as well as more modern theology books.

It seems to me that people don't see the life-application of the doctrine. That's really too bad, because the explanatory power of the Trinity is in my opinion one of the most attractive parts of the whole faith. When we Christians understand that nearly everything in creation is somehow relating to, or symbolic of, the unity within diversity that we find in the Trinity, suddenly all of Creation really is to the glory of God.

I've also noticed that people don't feel as much obligation to explain such a complicated doctrine to Christians as they do to non-Christians. Because we can trust that any Christian will take it on faith with or without a good understanding of it. But a non-Christian will not even take Christianity seriously until there's at least an attempt made to make the Trinity philosophically sensible. Ironically, once you really grasp Trinitarianism, suddenly nothing else makes as much sense.