Trinitarian Reformational

An integrated vision

The Centrality of the Heart

The Bible speaks of the “heart”, the central concentration point of our deepest hopes and desires. In all things the heart is the centre of human orientation (whether or not they recognize themselves as ‘religious’). For a Christian, it is in the heart that each person encounters, and responds to God. God speaks to all human beings, but the human response can be distorted by over focussing on one or other element or aspects of experience.

In the story of the creation of humanity in the first chapters of the book of Genesis, the key point in the coming to be of humanity is the encounter with God — so that the human race can be described perhaps not just as homo sapiens but homo religiosus.  The Adam and Eve story in Genesis 2 marks a boundary in terms of the human response to God,  resulting in a signal  act of disobedience. This in turn led to the whole story of judgement and redemption, in which humanity’s relation to God is seen through the experience of key figures, such as Noah, Abraham, Moses and David, each with  a covenant associated with his name — a progressive revelation of the judgement on humanity for its disobedience but, at the same time God’s gracious provision for human beings to be restored to a right relationship with himself. This process culminates in the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God becoming fully human, and dying and rising to provide the sole basis for the redemption of human beings through the power of his Holy Spirit.

Human beings are inescapably religious, and this is true both of those considered conventionally to be religious (i.e. of the traditional relations, such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism), but also those who are secular, not least the most aggressive secularists such as Richard Dawkins, who, in his attack on religions “fundamentalisms” creates a new fundamentalism of his own with its own creedal basis.

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August 25, 2012 Posted by | Belief, Calvinism and Reformed Theology, chrisitian faith, Christ Centered Trinitarian Theology, Christian, Christian Living, Christian Theology, Christian Thinking, Christian Worldview, Christianity, Contemporary Worldview, Covenant, Covenant, Covenantal, Doctrine/Theology, Follow, Following Jesus, Following of Christ, Kuyper, Life in general, Mind and heart, Philosophical Anthropology, philosophicaltheology, Philosophy and Religion, Purpose, Reformational Thought, Reformed theological, Reformed Theology, Religion, The Following of Christ, the life, The truth, Theology, Theology and Discipleship, TriniTalk, Trinitarian, Trinity, Trintarian, Truth and Doctrine, Vollenhoven, Worldview, worldviews | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Basis of Reformational Trinitarianism

The key break is with the medieval scholastic dichotomy between intellectualism and voluntarism. Calvin rejected both with his dictum “deus solus legibus solutus est” (“God alone is free of law” – against a intellectualist understanding of God) “sed non exlex” (“but is not arbitrary” – a rejection of the voluntarist position). God for Calvin can only be known as he reveals himself – that is, as Trinity. Any attempt to get “behind” God’s Triune reality or posit a non-Triune essence is vacuous speculation – an empty idea flitting around the brain.

How the dichotomy is overcome was not fully developed in Calvin, but is developed more elsewhere in Reformed tradition. God cannot be bound by forms outside of the Godhead – God binds himself, freely, in the eternal pact between the Three Persons which is the basis of our creation (Genesis 1:26) and redemption (John 17:2). In the Reformed tradition, this eternal pact is misleadingly called the “covenant of redemption” but it not just about redemption, but about creation as well – it is according to the will/authority of the Father that all things are created, through the Son and by the Spirit. It finds its political expression in the federal ideal – not least in the thought of Johannes Althusius, the great German Reformed philosopher, and also more recently, in the thought of Abraham Kuyper, with his notion of sphere sovereignty. The covenant of redemption is also key to the thought of Jonathan Edwards, as well the theologians of “Old Princeton”, such as the Hodges and especially B.B. Warfield, as well as Bavinck in the Netherlands. However, the old scholasticism does tend to creep back, with the old scholastic lists of “communicable” and “incommunicable” attributes with which the old systematic theologies tended to be prefaced. God does not “possess” attributes in this way – God simply is who he reveals himself to be – “I am who I am”.

There has been something of a rediscovery of the centrality and implications of the doctrine of the Trinity in the latter half of the Twentieth Century, especially in the Western Church (where it tended somewhat to be pushed to one side – unlike in the Eastern Church, where there has been much deeper and more extensive reflection on the Trinity, not least by the “Cappadocian Fathers” – Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory of Nazianzus). The being (ontology) of the Trinity consists in the relations of the Persons – the Persons are mutually dependent (pace Subordinationism) and eternally distinct (pace Monarchian Modalism). This is not something which arises from creation – the Triune being is not dependent on creation or redemption, but is revealed “economically” (as theologians say) through creation and redemption. Of course we can only know God through creation, but we have God’s self-attesting revelation that he is Triune. There are no categories of being to which God needs to conform – but God reveals himself finally and authoritatively how we are to speak of him, and that it true; and it is that truth which is the key to the universe. We know God himself because we know Jesus, whose fully human personality is at one and the same time, the personality of God.

July 18, 2006 Posted by | Belief, calvinism, Calvinism and Reformed Theology, chrisitian faith, Christ Centered Trinitarian Theology, Christian, Christian Living, Christian Theology, Christian Thinking, Christian Worldview, Christianity, Contemporary Worldview, Covenant, Covenantal, Doctrine/Theology, Dooyeweerd, Follow, Following Jesus, Following of Christ, Following the Master, Introduction, Kuyper, Life, Life in general, Mind and heart, Mind and Spirit, Neo-Calvinism, Philosophical Anthropology, philosophical thoughts, philosophicaltheology, Philosophy, philosophy & politics, Philosophy & Religion, Philosophy and Religion, Philosophy for today, Purpose, Reflections, Reformational Thought, Reformed theological, Reformed Theology, Religion, social ideas, social theory, Society, Something meaningful, Spirit, spirituality, spirituality/logic/+-, The Following of Christ, the life, The truth, Theology, Theology and Discipleship, Trinity Secret, Trintarian, Truth, Truth and Doctrine, Uncategorized, Van Til, Vollenhoven, Worldview, worldviews | Leave a comment

Why Trinitarian and Reformational?

That God is Trinity needs to shape the whole way we understand the world. To find out what this means and how it works out, and why it is truly Reformational, visit and/or join my Yahoo! group:

 

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We have a legacy of great Christian thinkers over the centuries. Without embarking onfull history of Christian philosophy, we might mention great Christian thinkers such as Irenaeus in the Second Century, the Cappadocian Fathers (and Mother) and, in the Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus in the Western Church, and Gregory Palamas in the Eastern Church. The specific tradition within which I stand is that of John Calvin, who with Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli led the movement in the Sixteenth Century for the reformation of the church based on the rediscovery of the integrity of the biblical message of the good news of Christ’s sheer gift of grace in his death on our behalf as the sole basis on which we can be made right with God. Calvin ‘s distinctive contribution was that the Lordship of Christ is over the whole of life, an insight taken up in the Nineteenth Century by the great Dutch Calvinist thinker, Abraham Kuyper and stated as the principle of  ‘sphere sovereignty ‘ – that all areas of life are distinctively under Christ ‘s rule. This insight was developed systematically in the Twentieth Century by the two Christian philosophers, Dirk Vollenhoven and Herman Dooyeweerd, both professors at the Free University of Amsterdam which Kuyper founded.

 

July 15, 2006 Posted by | Analysis, and Science, Belief, Blogroll, calvinism, Calvinism and Reformed Theology, Christ Centered Trinitarian Theology, Christian, Christian Living, Christian Theology, Christian Thinking, Christian Worldview, Christianity, Contemporary Worldview, Covenant, Covenantal, Doctrine/Theology, Dooyeweerd, Follow, Following Jesus, Following of Christ, Following the Master, Introduction, Kuyper, Life, Life in general, Mind and heart, Mind and Spirit, Neo-Calvinism, Philosophical Anthropology, philosophical thoughts, philosophicaltheology, Philosophy, philosophy & politics, Philosophy & Religion, Philosophy and Religion, Philosophy for today, Purpose, Reflections, Reformational Thought, Reformed theological, Reformed Theology, Religion, social ideas, social theory, Society, Something meaningful, Spirit, spirituality, spirituality/logic/+-, The Following of Christ, the life, The truth, Theology, Theology and Discipleship, TriniTalk, Trinity, Trinity Secret, Truth, Truth and Doctrine, Uncategorized, Van Til, Vollenhoven, Worldview, worldviews | Leave a comment