The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

The Trinity: Weird Math, Obscure Doctrine, or Heart of the Christian Life?

Since belief in the Trinity lies at the very heart of the Christian faith, a tiny difference in Trinitarian theology may well have repercussions upon every aspect of Christian life and thought.[1]13th Century Trinity Shield

Trinitarian theology is just that, the very heart of the Christian faith, yet Christianity has largely pushed Trinitarian theology to the sidelines. As some have pointed out, it has become nothing more than an awkward mathematical formula that we must accept as part of the faith, but has little to no bearing on our lives beyond that. By way of illustration, the very word processor I’m typing this post into keeps trying to change my use of the word Trinitarian into the word Unitarian!

Yet this has not always been so. The Orthodox and Roman Catholics have long been praying in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and crossing themselves as well. While some have argued that crossing ourselves (as Protestants) can be unhelpful and distracting, it should–at the very least–be recognized as a formative practice that brings Trinitarian theology into the life of the believer. The liturgy of these churches, moreover, is filled with Trinitarian references, prayers, and petitions.

Protestants, on the other hand, are missing the boat on this one. That is until recently. Ralph Allan Smith has written several helpful books on Trinitarian thought and its implications on every aspect of Christian life and though: Trinity and Reality, Eternal Covenant, and Paradox and TruthA Joint Federal Vision Profession” is a further statement on faith from a Trinitarian perspective.

Some, thinking on this topic, have offered helpful analogies to see the impact of Trinitarianism, or lack thereof, in our thought and lives. Comparisons of marriage among orthodox Trinitarians with that of strictly monotheistic Muslims offers great insight into the slavish submission found among Muslims as opposed to the love and mutual respect relationships of Trinitarians. The history of art, as mankind progresses from monotheism to Trinitarianism to polytheism/pluralism, reveals interesting aspects of this as well. So too can the history of music.

The Trinity is not an ethereal, technical, obscure, or trivial matter. It is the very heart of our faith, and from that place it affects all of how we think and act. It is worth the contemplation.

* Matt Bianco is a ruling elder in a PCA Church. He is a homeschooling father of three, the result of marrying his altogether lovely high school sweetheart, Patty.

[1] Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church, pp. 210-211.

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