Editorial: God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 10:1 (Spring 2006)
Article: Editorial: God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity
Author: Stephen J. Wellum

Editorial: God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity

Stephen J. Wellum

Stephen J. Wellum is Associate Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Wellum received his Ph.D. degree in theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and has also taught theology at the Associated Canadian Theological Schools and Northwest Baptist Theological College and Seminary in Canada. He has contributed to several publications and a collection of essays on theology and worldview issues.

Any reading of Scripture across the canon leads to one undeniable conclusion: this is a God-centered universe. From the opening verses of Scripture, God alone is presented as the primary actor, the sovereign Creator, the Sustainer, Life-giver, and Redeemer. He is the central figure of the story who alone is independent, self-sufficient, transcendent yet personal, magnificent in all of his perfections, utterly glorious, and worthy of all of our love, devotion, and praise. There is no created thing or person in the entire universe that compares to him; rather he is in a category all by himself. Scripture repeatedly reminds us that this universe is his, not ours, and as such, all glory and honor are due to his holy name. In the end, our chief end as his image bearing creatures is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”

However, what is crucial to note is that at the heart of Scripture’s presentation of our great and glorious God is the doctrine of the Trinity. Contrary to what many may think, the doctrine of the Trinity is not an esoteric, abstract theory that is unrelated to the “practical” affairs of life. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, understanding God as triune is central to everything Scripture says about him, and it is what distinguishes him from all other conceptions of “god.” In fact, the entire storyline of Scripture in terms of the plan of salvation would not even make sense without God being triune. Scripture presents our problem before the holy God as one of sin and moral rebellion. It also presents the solution to our problem as that of a divine solution centered in the divine initiative of the Father, the divine substitutionary work of the Son, and the divine application of the Son’s work to us by the Holy Spirit. In the end, to make sense of the Bible’s presentation of salvation, we need to affirm what Scripture presents: God is triune.

Furthermore, the entire presentation of the God of Scripture only makes sense if we affirm that God is triune. Scripture presents the one true and living God as the one who is sovereign, independent (a se), self-sufficient, yet personal. In all non-Christian thought, it is very difficult to bring these attributes together simultaneously. Usually if God’s ind...

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