p.ost

how to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference

Do you believe in the Trinity?

I think that the church as it settled and worked out how to express its beliefs in the Greek world was right to reimagine the relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit in the highly philosophical language of Trinitarian orthodoxy. So I would say that the doctrine of the Trinity is appropriate and believable under the intellectual conditions that prevailed in Europe from the second century onwards.

But I do not think that this language or the conceptuality that it sustains is of much use for making sense of the New Testament. What was at stake in the mission of the early Jewish-Christian church was not whether Jesus was God but whether he was Lord—and specifically whether he had been given the authority and power to judge and rule, at the right hand of God, not only over Israel but also over the nations. This is the story of the kingdom of God. It is shaped not by Greek metaphysics but by a Jewish-apocalyptic interpretation of history.

To the extent that the New Testament further identifies Jesus with the creative Word and Wisdom of God, we have a major stepping stone towards the rationalisation of divine relations.