The Orthodox Doctrine Of The Trinity -- By: Kevin Giles

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 26:3 (Summer 2012)
Article: The Orthodox Doctrine Of The Trinity
Author: Kevin Giles

The Orthodox Doctrine Of The Trinity

Kevin Giles

Kevin Giles (ThD) is an Australian Anglican pastor, theologian, and author. On the Trinity, he has published The Trinity and Subordinationism: The Doctrine of God and the Contemporary Gender Debate (InterVarsity, 2002), Jesus and the Father: Modern Evangelicals Reinvent the Doctrine of the Trinity (Zondervan, 2006), The Eternal Generation of the Son: Maintaining Orthodoxy in Trinitarian Theology (InterVarsity, 2012), and many articles in scholarly journals.

Part 1: The Doctrine In Summary

The doctrine of the Trinity is the primary doctrine of the Christian faith. It expresses our distinctive Christian understanding of God. Sadly, many contemporary evangelicals are inadequately informed on this doctrine, and the evangelical community is deeply and painfully divided on this matter. In seeking to promote unity among evangelicals by establishing what is to be believed about our triune God, I outline in summary what I conclude is the historic orthodox doctrine of the Trinity and then provide a biblical and theological commentary on my summary in a second and longer article, which follows.

When I had concluded my work in draft, I wrote to twelve well-informed, and mostly very well-known, academic theologians representing Roman Catholic, mainline Protestant, and evangelical commitments, all of whom have published on the doctrine of the Trinity, asking them to read critically and comment on what I had put to paper. A few I knew personally; most I did not. To my very pleasant surprise, I received nine positive replies. Some asked for a few changes to the wording or the addition of a few lines in clarification, but otherwise, they agreed that what I have written is a faithful and accurate account of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity as it has been historically articulated. I do not give their names, as it would be unfair to suggest that my words exactly capture their thinking at all points, and because I dared not ask them to read my work a second time after I had edited it. I have given the list of the endorsing readers to the editor of this journal who holds it in strict confidence.

1. God Is One In Being And Three Persons

The New Testament speaks of the one God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This revelation led to the development in history of the doctrine of the Trinity, which affirms there is one God in three persons who are each fully God.

The church fathers argued that the three persons are the one God because they share the one divine being/essence/substance/ nature. God’s unity is the unique being-in-communion of the eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So profound is this unity of being that, without ceasing to be wh...

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