How Is the Trinity Vital for My Christian Life?

 By Danny Hyde - Posted at Reformation21:

Back in 2005, Rick Warren—then hailed as "America's New People's Pastor" by Time magazine—made a revealing statement on his understanding of theology and doctrine:

“The first Reformation was about doctrine; the second one needs to be about behavior. We need a reformation not of creeds but deeds. It’s time to stop debating the Bible and start doing it... This is the new reformation I’m praying for.”

Sadly, what used to be a hallmark attitude of Protestant liberalism has since become a fit-for-Hallmark platitude of many so-called Bible-believing evangelicals. This stance is precisely what J. Gresham Machen so masterfully refuted in his classic, Christianity and Liberalism. To pit doctrine against duty, theology against community, or faith against life is unbiblical. For example, Paul spoke of "the truth, which accords with godliness" (Titus 1:1). This is why our forefathers defined theology as theologia est doctrina Deo vivendi, “Theology is the doctrine of living to God” (William Ames, Medulla Theologica, 1.1).

What is more, the false dichotomy between doctrine and duty is profoundly unhelpful. How are we to live for God unless we know God? We can easily recognize that every healthy relationship requires some level of knowledge. How can a husband and wife live and love unless they know each other? How can friends have a deep bond unless they know each other?

We can see this particularly when it comes to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. So often we are willing to affirm that God is Three, yet in the next breath we say this truth is not “practical.” How can the Trinity be of any use to me in my daily struggles in the Christian life? As Dorothy Sayers once lamented the attitude of her time concerning the doctrine of the Holy Trinity: “The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the whole thing incomprehensible” [“The Dogma is the Drama,” p. 25].


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