CONTEMPORARY TRINITARIAN THEOLOGY  YOUTUBE DICTIONARY OF THEOLOGY



this video is going to be in the form of two presentations the first will enthusiastic recommend a revolution in Trinitarian thought that has occurred over the last thirty years or so particularly advocating what has become known as a relational or social approach to the Trinity and will advocate a number of implications this thinking has for the church and wide society the second presentation will be critical of the first presentations whole approach and will question its enthusiasm and the conclusions it reach the reason it's been arraigned to the form of two presentations is that every point made about the researchers are interested through the terror thought could be challenged or qualified and if thats done from the very beginning the full force of the modern revival of interest in the trinity and its implications will not be felt if you had the opportunity to question any member of the lightt occupying up here in a Protestant church today on the dollar and the Trinity you would quickly realize that this doctrine has become an irrelevance faithful Christians know that it's something that all believers have to affirm but why and it needs to be affirmed and what is its relevance is not recognized one of the most famous Catholic theologians of the twentieth century went so far to say should the doctrine of the Trinity have to be dropped as false the major part of religious literature would well remain virtually unchanged but the church has only cause itself to blame it has developed this doctrine in terms that has poured it away from our media concerns it is in fact pulled it away from the central historical events crucial to our faith in developing this doctrine it is started from above with abstract either Taric speculations about eternal relations within the trinity prize iteration or the Incarnation with little relevance for today one theologian explains many people now understand the doctrine of the Trinity – Inez o tarik exposition of God's inner life that is the self relatedness of Father Son and spirit but if this doctrine can speak only for Trinity locked up in itself unrelated to us then no wonder so many find it intrinsically uninteresting there is no doubt that a one-sided approach to the doctrine the Trinity has kept it on the fringe quite unrelated to other theological doctrines much less to the Christian life for example if you it was classical Trinitarian theology what differentiates the three persons of Trinity it would be taken away from this world from salvation seed in Jesus and transported back into eternity and told that what differentiates the person is their eternal origins that the father is unpatented that the son is begotten of the Father and that the spirit proceeds with the father and the son as a result the events that transpire in history and in the economy and salvation are thought to have no essential effect on the eternal Trinity which in turn is regarded as a lie that is too independent and in some measure detached from the world understandably some might complain that this is theology at its worst which focuses on involved discussions about internal relationships within the Godhead with no reference to our salvation or anything that affects the believer so no wonder the doctrine the Trinity has become an irrelevance some see this beginning to happen at the great ecumenical council of nicaea there the debate focused on the father's eternal relationship to the pre-existence Sun with little reference to the incarnate Jesus God's relationship to Jesus of Nazareth faded in importance compared to the father's relationship to the Sun this was not helped in the west by Augustine psychological approach to the Trinity being made in the image of God he thought if we looked into our minds we could see Trinitarian patterns and forms Augustine believed that we are creators as Genesis had it in the image and likeness of God and by that he understood that we are the image of the whole Trinity in his latter life Augustine became convinced that we must think about the Trinity through ourselves as an image we must attempt to understand God through the memory intelligence and will or love that we ourselves exhibit again we are turning away from the history of salvation seen in Christ to the inner contemplation of ourselves that somehow echoes eternity instead of inquiring into what is revealed in the incarnation of Christ Augustine focused on the traces of the Trinity found in the soul of each human being Augustine relocated the locus of God's economy within the soul again this theological interpret Haitian has taken Trinitarian theology away from salvation history many contemporary theologians see in this psychological model a shift away from the biblical narrative to a focus on relations internal to the Godhead rather than on God in relation to creation the psychological analogy is perceived as too speculative cut off from the historical restore of redemption the 20th century theologian Khurana sees this leading to a kind of Gnosticism the psychological theory of the Trinity neglects the experience of the Trinity of the economy of salvation in favor of a seemingly almost Gnostic speculation about what goes on in the inner life of God so what is to be done well what is to be done is to start again from below and the biblical narrative from Jesus's ministry the only option is for Christian theology to start afresh from its original basis in the experience of being saved by God through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit now the theologian who exemplifies this fresh start is Jurgen Wharton talking about his book the Trinity and the kingdom of God more Purim writes the present book is an attempt to start with the special Christian tradition of the history of Jesus the Son and from that develop a historical doctrine of the Trinity let us begin with the history of Jesus the son for he is the revealer of the Trinity it is in his history that we can perceive the differences the relationship and the unity of the Father the Son and the spirit what when insists that theology must begin with the history of salvation which is the history of Jesus and his relationship to God the Father the doctor of the Trinity arises from this history if we turn away from the inner relations in eternity and look to what we see of the Trinity revealed in Salvation history we see a developing form of relationships in the historical eschatological Testament of the New Testament we do not really find one single form of the Trinity we find a Trinitarian coworking a father/son spirit but with changing patterns in the synoptic story of Jesus baptism a call as well as in Jesus's own manifestation of the father we come across a clearly perceptible Trinitarian form this preaching of the kingdom and affecting had were founded on his relationship to his father consequently they cannot be interpreted monotheistic alee they have to be understood in a Trinitarian sense Jesus reveals God as the father of the son and himself as this same son of the father when we look at the evidence of the whole New Testament we see so much more than internal relationship based on origin that are occupied classical Trinitarian thought in the West we see a dynamic relationship based on God's revelation in Christ relations among the three persons cannot be reduced to relations of origin in the traditional sense the father does not merely beget the son he also hands over his kingdom to him and receives it back from him the Sun is not merely begotten of the father he is also obedient him and thereby glorifies him as the one God the Spirit is not just breathed he also feels the son and glorifies him in his obedience to the Father and therefore glorifies the father himself to use theological terminology for classical Trinitarian thought in the West the focus had been on what is called the immanent Trinity the ontological or a central Trinity the eternal reciprocal relationships interior to the Trinity without reference to creation or redemption for much modern Trinitarian thought the focus is now turned to the economic Trinity which defines the Trinity in terms of the role each person has in Salvation history now Mormon goes so far to suggest that what is happening in creation and salvation has an effect on the Trinitarian life of God just as God goes out of himself through what he does giving his world his own impress so his world puts an impress on God to the creation of the world and the Incarnation therefore intervene deeply in the inner Trinitarian relationship of God as one scholar has put it Mormons whole theology is dominated by the prince with a mutual conditioning God affects the world but the world also has an effect on God but this Trinitarian theology from below should affect how we even conceive of God in the first place this is a game where so much theology went wrong rather than starts with God's revelation in history it seemed to buy into the model of the divine scene in the surrounding nations it started with an authoritarian monotheism that mirrors the authorities on earth if God is your mighty father because he is the origin and Lord of all things then he will be feared and worshipped as Zeus already was as father of the universe is the universe's highest authority all other authorities take their powers from him so that patriarchal hierarchies grow up on this pattern on this model not only is God the supreme doctoral authority but he is the authority justifying all other authorities the notion of a divine monarchy in heaven and on earth for its part generally provides justification for earthly domination religious moral patriarchal or political domination it makes it a hierarchy a holy rule the idea of your mighty rule of the universe requires abject servitude because it points to complete dependency in all spheres of life let me point out at once here that this monotheistic monarch anism was an is an uncommonly seductive religious and political ideology the universal ruler in Rome had only to be the image and correspondence of Universal ruler in heaven this divine monarchy was used to justify different types of hierarchy religious sexual political this was clearly the triumph of a patriarchal understanding of God despite the theoretical possibilities to the contrary contained in the doctrine of the Trinity Mortman argues that the church only has itself to blame in this regard as they were the first to support a political monotheism that only monotheism could lead to a stable society something polytheism could not support the justification of this political choice in favor of the Roman Empire ran as follows the polytheism of the heath and his idolatry the multiplicity of the nations is the reason for the continuing unrest in the world Christian monotheism is in a position to Kovach um heathen polytheism belief in the one God brings peace so to speak in a diverse and competitive world of the gods consequently Christendom is the one universal religion of peace the idea of unity and God therefore provides both the idea of the universal unified church and the idea of universal unified state one God one Emperor one church but in terms of Christian theology Mormon believes it is only a Trinitarian theology rightly understood and applied that can overcome this authoritarian monotheism this expansion of the doctrine of the Trinity in the concept of God can only really overcome this transposition of religious into political monotheism and the further translation our political monotheism into absolutism by overcoming the notion of a universal monarchy of the One God it is only when the doctrines of trinity vanquishes the monotheistic notion of the great universal monarch in heaven and His divine patriarchs in the world that earthly rulers dictators and tyrants cease to fight any justifying religious archetype anymore for example when we develop a Trinitarian theology from below we get a very different picture of fatherhood rather than the picture of father as cosmic Overlord we get the picture of the loving father of his son Jesus Christ anyone who wants to understand the Trinitarian God his father must forget the idea behind the patriarchal father religion he must gaze solely at the life and message of his brother Jesus the name of father is therefore theological term which is to say a Trinitarian one it is not a cosmological idea or a religious political one this fatherhood is defined by the relationship to this son and by the relationship of this son Jesus Christ to him consequently in the Christian understanding of God the Father what is meant is not the father of the universe but simply and exclusively the father of the Son Jesus Christ and seeing God through this Trinitarian relationship to his son changes our relationship with God from slave to son Jesus did not proclaim the kingdom of God the Lord but the kingdom of God his father in this kingdom God is not the Lord he is the merciful Father in this kingdom there are not servants there are only God's free children in this kingdom what is required is not obedience and Submission it is love and free participation it is impossible to fool the image of the omnipotent universal monarch who is reflected in earthly rulers out of the unity of this father this son and this spirit the glory of the triune God is reflected not in the crown of kings or the triumph or Victor's but in the face of the crucified Jesus in the face of the oppressed his brother he became he is the one visible image of the invisible God the glory of the triune God is also reflected in the community of Christ in the fellowship of believers and of the poor so movement argues that if we start with the Trinity we get a very different picture of God one that does not reflect the rule of earthly kings and empires it is of decisive importance for the doctrine of God when do we start from the Trinity in order to understand the sovereignty of God as a sovereignty of the Father the Son and the spirit or whether we think in the reverse direction it is impossible to form the figure of the omnipotent universal monarch whose reflected in earth rulers out of the unity of this father this son and this spirit more one points out that when one looks of the rise of atheism in the 18th century it was precisely this patriarchal authoritarianism that had legitimized earthly dictatorships that atheism was rebelling against it is understandable that this European movement for freedom should have been sparked off both religiously and politically by this patriarchal father religion the European absolutism of the Enlightenment period was the final form of political and it's religiously legitimated for it was also the last attempt to establish a state based on religious unity if the Christian God had been modeled on the Trinitarian relationship of love between father son and spirit rather than the authoritarian law of monarchs there would have been little for a theism to object to for the majority of theologians have been at the forefront of this rediscovery of Trinitarian theology it has been a particular tradition within Trinitarian thought that they have been wanting to promote they have argued that there is a contrast between Western models found in Augustine and Aquinas and an Eastern tradition associated with the Cappadocia Fathers rather than using analogies for the Trinity mirrored on three aspects of an individual the Cappadocia see the Trinity in terms of three people in communion this approach has become known as social or relational trinitarianism usually drawing inspiration from the Cappadocia theologians of the fourth century social Trinitarian proponents conceive of the Holy Trinity according to the analogy of a society or family of three human persons they are often said to start from polarity and then struggle to provide an adequate account of divine oneness or unity two different categories of analogy have always been used for the eternal life the Trinity the category of individual person and the category of community ever since August and developed the psychological doctrine the Trinity the first has taken precedence in the West whereas the Cappadocia father's and Orthodox theologians down to the present day employ the second category they incline towards an emphatically social dr. of the Trinity and criticized the modal istic tendencies in a personal Trinitarian doctrine of the Western Church in contrast to the psychological doctrine the Trinity we are therefore developing a social doctrine the Trinity and one based on salvation history so at the heart of this Trinitarian revival is a rediscovery of Trinitarian theology associated with the Cappadocia Seon Fathers of the East in an effort to reunite doctrine and practice and restore the doctrine of the Trinity to its rightful place at the central Christian faith and practice great potential I believe lies in the revitalizing of the Cappadocia rather than the Augustinian doctrine of the Trinity there are several ways in which to spell out this contrast between the Western and Eastern view of the Trinity one way to see this is that the West begins with a common divine nature and sees the three persons as manifestations of that one nature where the East begins with the three persons in communion the Augustinian to Mystic framer postulates substance as the primary ontological category whereas Greek theology posits person as the primary principle in the Latin metaphysics being underlies communion whereas in Greek ontology communion underlies being the suggestion is that starting with the one nature and not the three persons does not lead to a truly Trinitarian theology because the West starts with the one the Trinitarian nature of the divine is not taken seriously its marginalized if you start with monotheism it means that the polarity of the three persons is often played down in this way the West is seen as different to the east if we see the three persons as just manifestations of one under life substance Mortman believes that we end up in the West with a form of modalism not Trinitarian theology at all modalism was at times established church doctrine and whether it has really been overcome even now is a question which the Eastern Church still puts to the whole Trinitarian doctrine of the churches in North the West rather than beginning with the one God and asking how the three fit in with the one many of these theologians that favor our former social trinitarianism suggests that we start with the three persons and then ask how they might be one the Western tradition began with God's unity and then went on to ask about Trinity we are beginning with the Trinity of the persons and shall then go on to ask about the unity but from this perspective are we not left talking about three separate gods which is a heresy of right ISM at this point it is popular to bring in the idea of para Greece the highlights the interplay of the three Trinitarian persons beginning with Jonathan Damascus the patristic writers appropriated the christological concept of para Greece's to express the dynamic of divine life this term which has been invoked to speak about the interdependence of Christ deity and humanity provided a ready way to describe the relation among the Trinitarian persons the three persons are mutually in here in one another draw a life for one another or what they are in relation to one another hence the word indicates that the personhood of the three is relationally determined each is a person in relationship to the other two by avoiding any hint of dividing Gordon to three yet maintaining the personal distinction within God the appeal to perichoresis preserves both the unity of the One God and the individuality of the Trinitarian persons so for Mortman it is empirical rhesus that we find the unity of three persons and avoid tri ki ism but in respect of the Trinity's inner life three persons themselves form their unity by virtue of their relation to one another in the eternal para creases of their love this means that the concept of God's unity cannot in the Trinitarian sense be fitted into the homogeneity of one divine substance it must be perceived in the perichoresis of the divine persons in their parent rhesus and because of it the Trinitarian persons are not to be understood as three different individuals who only subsequently enter into relationship with one another which is the customary reproach under the name of tri theism but they are not either three modes of being or three repetitions of one God as the modal istic interpretation suggests the doctrine of perichoresis links together in a brilliant way the three nests and the unity without reducing the three lists to the unity or dissolving the unity in the three nests the unity of the Trinity lies in the eternal perichoresis of the Trinitarian persons interpreted para critically the trinitarian persons form their own unity by themselves in the circulation of the divine life it did not take long for theologians to see the link between how the persons of the Trinity are conceived relationally and how important that idea has become in regards to our development as persons the ingenious use of perichoresis to describe the manner in which the Trinitarian persons are constituted by the mutuality of relationships within the life of the triune God opens the way for the development of a dynamic ontology of persons in relationship or persons in communion it was the American social psychologist George Herbert Mead who first put forward the idea of the social self Reid was concerned to determine how the minded organism could be an object to itself which he considered to be the distinguishing trait or mark of selfhood in a word Meads answer was society in short Mead is convinced that the individual does not experience oneself directly but only indirectly by means of the reflective standpoint of the social group in so doing he opened the door to viewing the self as an ongoing process rather than as a given that exists prior to social relationships in Meade's account the self is not something that existed first and then enters into relationships with others but it is so to speak an eddy in the social current understandably theologians have seen a connection between this and the peritectic understanding of the self found within Trinitarian theology the trajectory of social psychology inaugurated by Mead opens the way to a paregoric understanding of the construction of the self in relationship some theologians have wanted to go further and see the believers life in Christ has taken up into a divine perichoresis through the spirit those who are in Christ come to share the eternal relationship that the son enjoys with the one whom he called father in this manner those who by the spirit are in the son participate in the very periodic dynamic that characterizes the eternal divine life this participation constitutes the self in community of all who are in Christ personal then is bound up with relationality and the formulas of rationality lies ultimately in the relationship with the triune God if this approach to the Trinity has implications for how we understand ourselves surely it should have something to say about how we perceive the body of Christ the church for example the theologian Colin Gunton asks what kind of analogy between God and the church Trinity and community may there be if there is one it should be one of an indirect kind in which the church is seen as called to be so to speak a final echo or body in fault of the divine personal dynamics but Gunton is concerned that historically nothing of the thought has happened that the church has modeled the hierarchy of secular society the theology of the church appears to have derived in large measure by analogy for the conception of earthly empires and the conception of God as triune communion made no substantive contribution to the doctrine of the church a secular model that has hierarchy at his heart is one of the first things a model of the church based on the social Trinity should put into question the being of God is a community of energies of Perak retic interaction as such is it's difficult to conceive its consistency with any static hierarchy the liberation theologian Leonardo Boff wants to push this further and see the social Trinity as a model for a healthy society the Trinity serves as a model for an integrated society in God each person acts in with its distinctive personality yet the activity is common to the three the Trinitarian interplay of perfect perichoresis displays coexistence between the personal and social between the happiness of each and the well-being of all these relationships underlie all community and social life and are enlightened and inspired by the communion of the Trinity we have said that it is not the monarchy of a ruler that corresponds to the triune God it is the community of men and women without privilege without subjection the three divine persons have everything in common except for their personal characteristics so the Trinity corresponds to a community in which people are defined through their relations with one another and in their significance for one another not in opposition to one another in terms of power and possession not only has there been a revolution in Trinitarian thought at the heart of it has been a rediscovery of the social Trinity and from this theologians have drawn many implications for society the church and how we conceive of ourselves in the hands of these thinkers then the claim that God though three is yet one became the source of metaphysical insight and a resource for combating individualism patriarchy and oppressive forms of political and ecclesiastical organization no wonder the enthusiasm the very thin which in the past have been viewed as an embarrassment has become the chief point upon which to commend the Christian doctrine of God not an intellectual difficulty but a source of insight not a philosophical stumbling block but something with which to transform the world in virtually every respect you've got Trinitarian theology wrong and the implications you draw from it are not valid let's start with your biggest problem which is a schoolboy error these social Trinitarian theologians have come across the definition of the Trinity has three persons in the Greek hypotheses in one substance and have understood the word person in completely the wrong way they have read the modern conception of person into this Trinitarian form dream as it person meant a separate central consciousness with its own self determining will where originally it would be better to translate hypotheses as mode of being in the first place then the church father spoke in Greek of three hypotheses the word hypotheses did not have the modern sense of a person as a psychological center of consciousness it meant something like a distinct instantiation of being or distinct identity the word person was assumed to mean something that it had not meant in earlier formulations the best-known Catalan and Protestant theologians of the 20th century Karl Rana and Carr Bart saw this and translated the word hypothesis mode of being if person means mode of being and not center of consciousness do you not see that all your social and relational trinitarianism comes falling to the ground you cannot get social trinitarianism out of modes of being modes are being do not relate to each other in the way of social trinitarianism while making such a simple error you've gone off on flights of fancy and drawn all kinds of implications from your social trinitarianism that are not legitimate one of the basic ideas underlying your rediscovery of social trinitarianism is the idea that the East and West are offering a different vision of the Trinity that what we find in the Cappadocia fathers and what we find in Augustine are distinctly different but how plausible is this we know that those before Augustine who renew well were in line with what the Cappadocia said so when did this division occur augusten stood in a tradition of Latin Trinitarian theology that had developed in active engagement with the Cappadocia in pre Nicean tradition and which included many figures most notably Ambrose and Jerome to whom Augustine stood in close relations at various points in his life at what point then in this developing tradition of Latin pronation theology did the basic rupture with the Cappadocia ins of her and why did no one notice it seems virtually impossible to construct a plausible narrative of how the traditions could have suddenly divided there is no time for a gradual drying apart and anyway recent studies of Augustine's work on the Trinity do not see such contrast with the Cappadocia ins in addition the scholar Karen kilby suggests that what's been happening in social trinitarianism is rather suspect a form of projection ism is used as a theological insight we start with the three persons of the Trinity then we look for what unifies them we come up with Peres Greece's and we take all the best aspects of human relationships to explain this pair of greases and then we suggest that this pair of graces has a thing or two to teach us about human relationships without noticing that's where we got the ideas from in the first place as Karin Kilby explains first a concept of perichoresis is used to name whatever is not understood to name whatever it is that makes the three persons one secondly the concept is filled out rather suggestively with notions borrowed from our own experience of relationships and relatedness and then finally it is presented as an exciting resource Christian theology has to offer the wider world in its reflections upon relationships and relatedness as it's hard a suggestion to overcome a difficulty is presented as a key source of inspiration and insight finally it's all very well talking about making the Trinity more relevant by starting from below with salvation history but most of the theologians oops just this change of direction end up with the blow effectively above with the Trinity somehow developing in history but does this not question the sovereign freedom of God over his creation with God ceasing to be Lord of all we have heard two contemporary perspectives on the Trinity one that is exciting about social trinitarianism the other that is critical now we have the chance to sum up the question about the interpretation of historical material carries on particularly concerning how much social trinitarianism you can find in the capitation father's and whether Augustine was putting the West on a different track to the east and as fascinating as Karen killed his criticism is things may be a bit more complicated than she suggests with regards to how we should think of the persons of the Trinity some theologians who advocate the social Trinity claimed or whatever the Greek terms may imply the biblical material would suggest something more than modes of being for example there are biblical passages that talk of a loving relationship between father son and spirit and I have our relationship that modes of being would not do justice to so what do we find when we look to the New Testament portrayals of the Divine persons we see the Defiant persons depicted in AI their relationships remember consider Jesus baptism his father refers to him as one who's clearly distinct this is my son through my love Jesus refers to his relationship with his father sometimes called his Abba in the deepest relational terms the situation is similar with respect to the relationship of the Son and the spirit the Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness and sustains him there and Jesus teaches and ministers in the spirits power now it could be argued to all these instances of a robust either our relationship our during Jesus earthly ministry and do not reflect the Trinitarian relationships prior to the Incarnation but theologians who support social trinitarianism are quick to point out that this is not the taste do the biblical accounts of the personal relatedness in the sense of the I their relationship refer only to the incarnate son and thus perhaps the person of the sons human nature know for at least three reasons first it has nothing to account for the robots be personal distinction of the father and the Holy Spirit second while it is true that much of the biblical data refers to the economic Trinity for this distinction to be real in the economy there must be a robust distinction within the immanent Trinity finally what we do know of the immanent Trinity and into Trinitarian life in Scripture supports this thesis in Jesus's famous prayer in John 17 he refers to the mutual glorification the father and the son that I had before the world began what is this if not an i their relationship within the Trinity before incarnation moreover Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us what is this if not an inner Trinitarian communication the point is clear even if person when applied to the Trinitarian persons by the church fathers cannot most mean mode of being that is not the case when looking at how the Trinitarian relationships are conceived within Scripture we have heard an enthusiastic presentation of a relational social trinitarianism and a critique of it but in our summing up we have seen how the debate carries on you