The State Of The Evangelical Trinitarian Resurgence -- By: Jason S. Sexton

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 54:4 (Dec 2011)
Article: The State Of The Evangelical Trinitarian Resurgence
Author: Jason S. Sexton


The State Of The Evangelical Trinitarian Resurgence

Jason S. Sexton*

* Jason Sexton is a researcher in Systematic Theology, St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews, South Street, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 8JU, Scotland and Postdoctoral Fellow in Theology and Culture, Oak Hill College, Chase Side, Southgate, London, N14 4PS, England.

I. Introduction

In a pivotal essay published in the spring of 2005, Fred Sanders made an acute assessment of the state of the doctrine of the Trinity within evangelicalism: namely, the trinitarian resurgence had taken place while evangelicals stood idly by. In his journalistic account, he declared it impossible to report on any major trinitarian work by an established evangelical thinker because there simply were none.1 However contestable this claim might be, the situation, at least in the North American setting, was for the most part as Sanders described.2 But this is not the case today. Now everyone acknowledges that there has been a trinitarian resurgence, even within evangelical theology.

Matters related to its cause or end could be explored.3 But these issues are beyond the scope of this paper and are much more adequately explored in other recent and forthcoming works.4 For the present task, the resurgence is understood as having taken place, and now the Trinity’s presence is ubiquitous, often appearing in places it should hardly be. For evangelicals, being trinitarian today is quite fashionable.

In seeking to address the topic of the current state of the evangelical trinitarian resurgence, this paper will inevitably leave things out. Some omissions are intentional, not because the issues lack merit, but because they do not seem to be the most significant features operating within the present evangelical situation and therefore are not tension points begging for recognition.5 As such, they might even have a better life avoiding the scrutiny of a selective internal auditor. This essay, then, while making no claims of exhausting all features within selected schools of thought, intends to be a diagnostic check providing a glimpse into the state of the evangelical trinitarian resurgence, and not particularly critical of earlier assessments which would have been a much easier task five years ago, but which nonetheless have their own merit. Like them, this assessment, too, will pass away as tax records after five years, while hoping still to give...

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