Here is a pretty good Trinity hymn by Joseph Hart (1712-1768). Hart is uneven as a hymn-writer (he can be didactic & predictable in way that makes you long for Watts & Wesley), but he has some excellent moments.…
He starts with the obligatory warning about what no created intelligence can fully comprehend about the Trinity, or even about the Trinity's work in salvation:
But moves quickly to his main point: Christian experience is firmly based on the work of the Trinity in salvation. This link between the nature of salvation and the triunity of God is the focus of the hymn.
So in one crisp stanza, Hart focuses on how each person of the Trinity is at work in the one, central action of the Son's death on the cross.
Praises rises up from our recognition of the three persons working inseparably: this is the dynamic of trinitarian soteriology that is evoked by God's work, but is oriented toward God's being.
Echoing the ancient doxology "Glory be to the Father," etc., Hart returns to the singling out of each person's work. Because he firmly presupposes inseparable action, Hart can speak freely of each person's way of working.
Hart is also free to talk about the Son's willing compliance, precisely because he has never heard of "eternal functional subordination," or three separate faculties of will, or strong social trinitarianism, or other modern errors. Much amplitude & freedom with in easy reach.
Final stanza adds the Spirit to complete the movement of application. Hart drives the last two lines to a concluding "God Three-One" statement of salvation in a triad of verbs: sends, procures, seals. (aaand ends w/a typo: a final comma where a period should be.)

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More from @FredFredSanders

24 Dec 20
Christmas Trinity: Only the Son is incarnate, but the incarnation is the work of the whole Trinity. You can see why a distinction is helpful here: to recognize the undivided work of God toward us, but to specify the Son's incarnation exclusively.
Luther loved to use a homey image for this (one which he attributed to Bonaventure). The incarnation is like three girls putting a garment onto one of them: all three put it on, but only one has it put onto her.
Is it possible to be more precise? Well, although the work is undivided, the distinct persons are evident in the incarnation in a way that corresponds to their order of existence within the eternal relations: the Father unbegotten, the Son begotten, the Spirit proceeding.
Read 20 tweets
12 Aug 20
Benjamin Morgan Palmer (1818-1902) annoys me. His doctrine of salvation is so beautifully transparent to the doctrine of the Trinity that I just can't keep myself from quoting him. He really gets it: the way grace flows from God's eternal triune being. Exactly right.
Even when I don't quote Palmer verbatim, or footnote him, I've incorporated some of his way of putting things into my own formulations: grace is anchored in the triune relations, etc.
But wait: why would I avoid quoting, footnoting, or naming this author who is so good on this?
Because BM Palmer was an apologist for southern slavery. And not just a little: he was informed, active, & influential. He preached secession, he connected slavery to God's providential purpose for southern Christian civilization. All the way through; the whole catastrophe.
Read 9 tweets
18 Jun 20
One way we remind each other of the awesome condescension of God is saying things like "the God who made the universe loves you, knows you by name." And we wave our hands around to gesture at the entire universe, to establish some perspective: All that! Its maker! Little old you!
That's good stuff. (Waves hands around & points to universe to establish perspective.) But there's something beyond that: God is greater than just being a universe-maker. In the depths of the divine being, God is great, greater. Not just big, but without measure.
Waving your hands around & pointing to that measureless depth of divinity, infinitely more than all of creation, is even harder than gesturing at the universe. What gesture shall I borrow to direct your attention to God in himself? Whither shall I point?
Read 7 tweets
14 Jun 20
The creeds go straight from Christ's birth to his suffering, leaving out the private life & active ministry of Jesus. The reason is that they're not doing a general biography, or even a Gospels précis, but teaching incarnation & atonement for our salvation.
Some catechisms and all good extended commentaries on the creeds will insert a little bit more here. Sometimes they'll ask, "when did he suffer?" and answer that it's not just "under Pontius Pilate" during the final week, but that his entire life in the flesh included suffering.
Every mystery of the entire, undivided life of Jesus is glowing with revelation and burning with the power of salvation. But "born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pilate" not only suffices by framing his life correctly; it also directs attention to the most important things.
Read 4 tweets
27 May 20
Came across something helpful in Aquinas (ST Iª q. 42 a. 1 ad 3). Check it out: Should we call the persons of the Trinity equal? Duh, of course.
But one of the objections he considers (obj 3) is that a relation of equality is reciprocal. But to say the Father is equal to the Son sounds weird & backwards; it might be as wrong as saying the Father is the image of the Son (which he's not).
So Aquinas makes a distinction: "Equality & likeness in God may be designated in two ways--namely, by nouns and by verbs."


(It's nomina et verba; I'm looking at this translation:… )
Read 7 tweets
25 Apr 20
Lonergan (Works vol 8) has this peculiar trio of theses about the NT teaching on Jesus.
1. Jesus is true man.
2. Jesus in many ways participates in what is divine.
3. Jesus is true God.
My first thought on seeing this was, what's the deal with thesis 2? Why bother including it?
As he defines his terms, though, Lonergan fills out thesis 2 (multipliciter divina participare) with all this; Jesus performs miracles, calls forth supreme love for himself, takes away sins, judges eternally, rules over all, preexists, takes part in creation.
If you've read much early high Christology lit, you recognize this list. These are commonly named as constituting biblical monotheism: one God creates, judges, is worshiped, etc. Jesus does these things, so he is included in the identity of the one God.
Read 6 tweets

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