Creedal Trinitarianism

Sources: Frances Young, The Making of the Creeds (Trinity); Thomas F. Torrance, The Trinitarian Faith (T&T Clark); C. FitzSimons Allison, The Cruelty of Heresy (Morehouse); William Placher, A History of Christian Theology (Westminster); Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press); Augustine of Hippo, The Trinity (Hendrickson).

Reading: John 14:1-17.

I. What Is Doctrine?
Doctrine is authoritative Church teaching
Later Catholics describe a hierarchy: dogma, doctrine, theology

Doctrine reflects on the life of the worshipping Church (theology)
Doctrine trains newcomers in Christian ways (e.g., baptismal creeds)
Doctrine speaks of all things in light of Jesus Christ (e.g., proclamation)
Doctrine guards traditions from distortion, neglect, or attack (e.g., apologetics, polemics)
Doctrine guides practice (e.g., confessions, liturgy)

Doctrine is like grammatical rules (George Lindbeck)

II. Trinitarian Basics
Jesus calls God "the Father" (abba/ho pater; Matt. 11:27)
Jesus calls himself "the (only) Son" (John 3:16, Rom. 8:32, Col. 1:13)
Jesus reveals the Father (John 14:9), as "only begotten God" (John 1:18)
Jesus is Creator (John 1, 1 Cor. 8:5-6, Col. 1:16), Judge, and Savior
Believers confess that "Jesus is Lord" (Phil. 2:11, cf. Isa. 45:23; 1 Cor. 16:22)
The Spirit proceeds from the Father (John 15:26)
The Spirit conceives Jesus (Luke 1:35)
Jesus receives the Spirit from the Father (Luke 3:22, Acts 2:33)
Jesus gives the Spirit to humanity (Acts 2:33, John 14:16, 26, John 20:22)
The doctrine develops to respect Jewish worship of the risen Jesus
Trinity is rooted in history, Scripture, and Christian experience

III. Greek Theology: The Cappadocian ("Social") Trinity
Forerunners: Irenaeus, Origen, Athanasius; opponents: Sabellius, Arius, "Spirit fighters"
The unity of the divine persons is relational
The Father is the source of divinity and unity
Interrelationships constitute the Father as Father, Son as Son, Spirit as Spirit
Begetting and proceeding distinguish the persons
Coinherence (three turned-in-mirrors) / perichoresis (the divine dance)
Rublev's Trinity

IV. Latin Theology: The Augustinian ("Psychological") Trinity
Forerunner: Tertullian; opponent: Arius, "Spirit fighters"
The persons are one in sharing the divine essence
The relations among the divine persons resemble other relations:
Lover, beloved, love
Memory, intellect, will
Western Trinitarian iconography
The Filioque: the Spirit proceeds "also from the Son"

V. What Is a Person? Basic Trinitarian Vocabulary
Greek: ousia (1); prosopon, hypostasis (3)
Latin: esse, substantia,(1); persona, subsistentia (3)
English: being, substance (1); person, subsistence, "way of being" (3)
The terms become confused in translation
Modern understandings of "person" differ; is God one modern "person"? Three? Zero?