“Uttering The Praises Of The Father, Of The Son, And Of The Spirit:” John Calvin On The Divine Trinity -- By: Michael A. G. Haykin

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 21:2 (Summer 2017)
Article: “Uttering The Praises Of The Father, Of The Son, And Of The Spirit:” John Calvin On The Divine Trinity
Author: Michael A. G. Haykin


“Uttering The Praises Of The Father, Of The Son, And Of The Spirit:” John Calvin On The Divine Trinity1

Michael A. G. Haykin

Michael A. G. Haykin is Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also Adjunct Professor of Church History and Spirituality at Toronto Baptist Seminary in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Haykin is the author of many books, including “At the Pure Fountain of Thy Word”: Andrew Fuller As an Apologist (Paternoster Press, 2004), Jonathan Edwards: The Holy Spirit in Revival (Evangelical Press, 2005), The God Who Draws Near: An Introduction to Biblical Spirituality (Evangelical Press, 2007), Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church (Crossway, 2011), and Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact (Christian Focus, 2014).

“It is impossible to praise God without also uttering
the praises of the Father, of the Son, and of the Spirit”2

In a masterful study of the unfolding of early Christian thought, Jaroslav Pelikan, the doyen of twentieth-century Patristic studies, noted that the “climax of the doctrinal development of the early church was the dogma of the Trinity.”3 And the textual expression of that climax is undoubtedly the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed that was issued at the Council of Constantinople (381), in which Jesus Christ is unequivocally declared to be “true God” and “of one being (homoousios) with the Father” and the Holy Spirit is described as the “Lord and Giver of life,” who “together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified.” The original Nicene Creed, issued by the Council of Nicaea in 325, had made a similar statement about the Son

and his deity, but nothing had been said about the Holy Spirit beyond the statement “[We believe] in the Holy Spirit.” When the deity of the Spirit was subsequently questioned in the 360s and 370s, it was necessary to expand the Nicene Creed to include a statement about the deity of the Holy Spirit. In the end this expansion involved the drafting of a new creedal statement at the Council of Constantinople.4

Although some historians have argued that these fourth-century creedal statements represent the apex of the Hellenization of the church’s teaching, in which fourth-century Christianity traded the vitality of the New Testament church’s experience of God for a cold, abstract ph...

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