Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Trinity and Piety

The latest issue of Crucible is out! It's an on-line journal from the Australian Evangelical Alliance.

The best article is an excellent piece by Jonathan Case on the implications of the Trinity for our piety. Case astutely hammers the vague spirituality which refuses to make any "dogmatic" assertions about God and Jesus - like the doctrine of the Trinity - and prefers to simply "follow Jesus". We can find this kind of spirituality among pietists, and in some of the emerging church community. It sounds very warm and friendly and inclusive. But it's actually the same as the old liberalism of Adolf Harnack (which is still held by contemporary liberals like John Spong). Such a piety cannot differentiate itself from Buddhism, Hinduism or Islam, all of which hold Jesus in high esteem. The Biblical passages that call us to worship Jesus necessarily lead to the doctrine of the Trinity. We cannot therefore rightly respond to the Biblical picture of Jesus - we cannot worship him adequately - without the doctrine of the Trinity.
[B]eing a Christian is not, and never has been, about simply following Jesus... Many Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and a host of well-intentioned Unitarians and pluralists of all varieties revere this man and his ideas about loving one’s neighbour... Being a Christian, however, is about worshipping Jesus... And worshipping Jesus, in other words, doxology, led the church inevitably to the doctrine of the Trinity. (Page 3)

Also in this issue of Crucible, John McClean (ethics lecturer, Presbyterian Theological Centre, Sydney) reviews a book on divorce. Barbara Roberts, Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion, Maschil Press, 2008.

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