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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?

fr_wayne_mcnamara's picture

Some Rough Thoughts

I find that we speak of Trinity as something we must believe in as Christians but almost always speak of God monistically. We refer to God almost exclusively in the singular and almost never in the plural - we say "God,He answered me" and never "God,they answered me". We seem to cherish the unity more than the plurality.

We also tend as churches to gravitate unconsciously to chose one member or other of the Trinity.

We are "Father" churches focussed on transcendence, incomprehensibility, authority, stately royalty, decorum, justice, discipline,and final judgment, taking dominion in the world

Or we are "Son churches" focussed on the Word and ordering our lives and body life of the parish accordingly, forgiveness. Feeding on the Word (Scriptures and sacraments) a big priority. Fellowship is a big priority.

Or we are "Spirit churches" moving out into the world and focussed on proclamation, evangelism, ministry,healing,less structure and boundaries,more spontaneous.

Obviously the One and the Many are equally important and it takes a great deal of self-conscious effort to cultivate all three in the same parish.

Trinity is also the reason for creation. The phrase 'God is love" makes no sense if there is not more than one person, for who then would be the eternal object of His love?

The Divine Society is Love and it is Love that creates.
Each member of the Community giving the gift of creation to the others.

The Son and the Spirit make many sons for the Father.
The Father and the Spirit make a Bride for the Son.
The Father and the Son create a beautiful dwelling place for the Spirit.

This makes all of creation gift.

If we lose the Trinity we lose Love, we lose the reason for our existence. We also lose God revealing Himself to us and commensurately our ability to know Him.

Sorry to be so brief.



The course of true love never did run smooth.

The course of true love never did run smooth.