I decided that we need to maybe take another post or two on the Trinity.
Catholic theologian Karl Rahner asked if we suppose the doctrine of the Trinity turned out to be false, in what way would if affect our Christian life and devotion? How would this change Christian practice? Rahner, realized that the tragic answer is, not that much. I have used the phrase “Functional Unitarian” before, and it would apply again here. The Trinity functions inside of Christian life as much as “hydrogen to water” (Check out Robin Parry’s Worshiping Trinity. Most of my inspiration for this post came from there), meaning that hydrogen is a necessary element inside of water.
In a comment on my previous post, my good friend Amberly describes what I think is many peoples idea of the Trinity. Christians in America are simply not taught the Trinity. It is something that is rough to understand, and therefore is not integrated into our normal practice. It is not a complex matter of thought that is unrelated to the average Christian, but instead it is the basic definition of who God is and it is through the unique nature of the Trinity that we find redemption and interact with God. Trinity is tied up in the definition of worship that I like the most.
Worship is the gift of the Holy Spirit bringing us into the intimate relationship between the Father and Son.
This brings us back to Rahner’s problem and why I don’t like the definitions of worship that I see floated around the most, giving the action to something that Man does and directs at God. Christians are not simple monotheists, but instead Trinitarians. When we forget the Trinity, we forget who we as a people are and how we were taken back into the loving fold of God. The original politics of the church was not associated with the state, but instead “the art of achieving the common good through participation in the divine life of God(Barry Harvey; Can these Bones Live?).” The Trinity, and the communal relationship that it exemplifies, is essential to us as Christians.
The way in which we think about God is highly influenced by how we worship. If we worship Trinity, we think Trinity-but if we worship ourselves (our own actions directed towards God), we leave out the Trinity and we make ourselves idols. Our school of habits is directly affected by our Public (and corporate) act of Worship! The worship that we involve ourselves in sets the boundaries of who God is. When we quit the mystical sort of Worship that sets the church inside of the continual story of God, we forget to think of the deep supernatural life that we have inside of God. Theology and Worship are inextricably tied to each other in a symbiotic relationship that necessitates both disciplines being equally fed and interacted with.
So we must hold the Trinity high in our worship, or we aren’t worshiping. When we cease to worship the Trinity, we become just a bunch of people doing the same thing at the same time in the same place, but we aren’t worshiping.
Next: The Corporate nature of Triune Worship.
For the rest of this series click here.