The Trinity

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From Brian Gerrish’s Christian Dogmatics (Thesis 20 on The Trinity): “Thesis 20 leaves further discussion open. It does not so much present a finished doctrine of the Trinity as rehearse the point of departure for a doctrine of the Trinity. It is simply an epitome of my outline. Christian dogmatics, as I understand it, is most faithful to its task when it does not let the presumed eternal background of redemption overshadow the historical and experiential foreground. However, theologians of every sort agree that there is at least one thing that can be said of God in Godself ( in se ). The Johannine confession “God is love,” twice affirmed (1 John 4:8, 16), is the high point of Christian faith and refers to God’s nature, not just to one divine attribute among many. “Love” has many meanings. Schleiermacher’s definition—“the inclination to unite oneself with an other and the will to be in an other”—fits John’s twofold evidence for the love of God: the sending of the Son and the gift of the Spirit (vv. 9, 13). That “God is love” is thus the final affirmation of my twentieth thesis: it is both “expressly set down in Scripture” and a “good and necessary consequence” of the scriptural narrative of redemption.”



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