I’ve been working on writing a catechism, a distillation of the faith into concise questions and answers with brief supporting scriptures that could be the starting point for a conversation. The reason being I’m convinced its important for the Church to inoculate our young people with a healthy dose of catechesis before we ship them off to college, just enough so that when they first hear about Nietzsche or really study Darwin they won’t freak out and presume that what the Church taught them in 6th grade confirmation is the only wisdom the Church has to offer.
You can find all the previous posts here.
III. The Son
27. What Do We Mean By Naming God Trinity?
We mean that Jesus is Lord.
That is, we know God to be Triune because we know that Jesus is Lord, to him belongs all honor, glory, and praise otherwise rightly owed to God, and because we know that there exists only by the power of the Holy Spirit a community that witnesses to Jesus’ cross-shaped Kingdom. Therefore, whatever Christians mean by the word God we must mean that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We mean that we can no longer say ‘God’ or ‘Spirit’ without saying Jesus.
Trinity is our rule of speech, insuring that we do not cite as from God or attribute to the Spirit any belief or work that does not conform to the revelation given to us in the Word of God we call Jesus Christ.
By naming God as Trinity, we also mean that we pray as Jesus prayed.
With the Son, we pray, as the Son commanded us, to the Father through the Holy Spirit. So praying, we trust that we are incorporated properly into the story of the God who lives among his People.
By confessing a Triune God, we mean as well that the person of Christ cannot be separated from the work of Christ.
In other words, the existence of the human Jesus is the result of the Father sending the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit. God is Triune, then, because the mission of Jesus Christ is God’s own mission. God must be Trinity because the teachings of Jesus do not convey the will of the human Jesus, they convey the character of God.
By calling God Father, Son, and Spirit, we mean that creation itself coheres with the peaceable Kingdom revealed by Jesus on the mount and on the cross.
If God is Trinity then the fundamental reality to existence is peace, for in the Triune life we witness a community comprised of both difference and harmony. If peace is the chief attribute of God and the determinative characteristic of creation, then violence is an intrusion upon the original order of God’s creation- violence is not original to creation.
So then, by confessing a Triune God we profess that God’s act of creation is a bringing about in existence of God’s own harmonious difference and that God’s act of redemption is the Son, through the Spirit, and in faithfulness to the Father returning creation to its original harmony of difference and peace. By calling God Trinity we insist that Jesus’ cross-bearing, non-violent witness works not agains the grain of the universe but with it.
“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf.” – John 15.26