'Simply Trinity - The Unmanipulated Father, Son, and Spirit' by Matthew Barrett


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When it comes to understanding the nuances of Trinitarianism, see also Chapter 1 of Matthew Barrett’s ‘None Greater’ concerning the Incomprehensibility of God.

That said, between 'None Greater' and 'Simply Trinity,' Matthew Barrett has made me aware of a great many things which were entirely unknown to me before, but which now sorely need further study.

For one, Jurgen Moltmann seems now to be the best kept secret in modern theology, and both his legacy and his work bears closer scrutiny.

For two, Social Trinitarianism is highly disturbing and – I will repeat myself from last episode – should more rightly be called Socialistic Trinitarianism.

The breadth and scope of philosophical and political agendas which have been argued from a hijacking of Trinitarian doctrine is, dare I say it, nauseating. By contrast, it is perhaps equal parts encouraging and depressing to look at the historic creeds and confessions of Christian faith from the past 2,000 years and to realize how seriously past our forebearers in the Church took doctrine.

‘Doctrinal Minimalism’ - Gavin Ortlund uses this helpful term in ‘Finding the Right Hills to Die On,’ another work I’m reading today and almost finished with; and I would say that term as Ortlund uses it accurately describes too much of what I’ve observed in my own personal experience in the church. That is, whatever is not the core and central Gospel is too often dismissed as being not really important and not mattering much.

And yet it’s sobering to remember that previous generations of Christians in some cases quite literally lost their lives because they believed so strongly in some of these points which we today so often don’t even deign to consider or study for fear of divisiveness and controversy.

That said, one concern I have with regards to delving deeply into historic Church Councils and Creeds is that we would lapse back to where the Roman Catholic Church was at when reformers like Luther and Calvin brought up legitimate issues hundreds of years ago, giving rise to what we now know of as Protestantism. That is, the fallback position returns again to the authority of popes, councils, and tradition over and against the plain meaning of Scripture, and there is no recourse.

The counterpoint I think Barrett helpfully distinguishes between here is Sola Scriptura on the one hand, and what Barrett terms ‘Solo Scriptura’ on the other. That is, the difference here is between the Bible being regarded as the only infallible source of authority for Christian faith and practice on the one hand, and on the other hand anything outside of the Bible being dismissed out-of-hand.

Needless to say, I still have much grappling yet to do in weighing and measuring and studying further. But for the time being, I will say Barrett's work in 'Simply Trinity' was helpful to me in giving me a better understanding of historically orthodox Trinitarianism. And I am thankful for that.

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