In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Toward a Trinitarian Worldview -- By: J. Scott Horrell

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 166:662 (Apr 2009)
Article: In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Toward a Trinitarian Worldview
Author: J. Scott Horrell


In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Toward a Trinitarian Worldview

J. Scott Horrell

J. Scott Horrell is Professor of Theological Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary, and an adjunct faculty member at the Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary, Amman, Jordan, and the Seminario Teológico Centroamericano, Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Broadly across Christian traditions today, the renaissance of Trinitarian studies continues to yield productive suggestions regarding the practical implications of faith in the tripersonal God.1 Some ideas align fairly readily with classical

Christian faith, whereas others appear more distant from the Trinitarian creeds of Nicaea (325) and Constantinople (381).

On the one hand church fathers and present-day leaders alike urge readers to beware of overspeculation regarding the Godhead, of trying to say too much about what cannot be said. The apophatic nature of Trinitarian confession indicates that creeds exist both to define the boundaries and to preserve the mystery of the transcendent God. As Placher comments, “We are asking about the very essence of God, and that essence is too great for our understanding. We must cling closely to Scripture and to the logic of salvation, flickering candles as it were against what seems such a great darkness but is in fact, of course, invisible to our mind’s eyes because of the brilliance of its too great light.”2

On the other hand even as creedal language helps guard what can finally never be said, God has spoken in the Son and by the Spirit, through acts in history and in the written Word. The very center of the biblical message is that the triune God has made known His personal richness3 in both mercy and judgment. People are invited to know this God through Christ and to be transformed by the renewing of their minds through the Spirit. The theme of this article is that some things can be said about the Christian God in ways that may and should unite all believers.

The purpose of this article is to outline a transcultural Trinitarian worldview, one that attempts to set forth a universal framework of basic Christian faith for believers today. It presupposes that the biblical basis of the doctrine of the Trinity together with its early patristic development is correctly expressed in the Nicene and Constantinopolitan creeds. Rather than a detailed discussion of any single aspect, the work is designed as a synthesis of important Trinitarian themes. The article ...

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