New Book on the Openness Controversy

Contributors to this book include Blocher, Carson, McCormack, Helm, Wright, and MacLeod.

The Trinity, Revisited

I have answered Doug’s previous post on his own blog. I am waiting for an answer to those comments. Meanwhile, we can move on to the Trinity.

My previous thoughts on the first major section are to be found here. I don’t have a whole lot to add. I wish to reaffirm the covenant of redemption as being the archetype of the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. I believe that the articles in CJPM and BFA have established this position not only as exegetically tenable, but confessionally compelling. However, there is one massive caveat that must be issued with all such attempts at grounding covenantal theology in Trinitarian theology. We must be exceedingly careful to guard against a social Trinitarian doctrine in our formulations. In other words, we must say that there is One God, and that the intra-Trinitarian covenant of redemption does not mean that the three persons of the Trinity somehow exist independently of each other and somehow need covenant in order to be considered one God. The Nicene formulation on this is clear: they have the same essence. They do not need covenant in order to be considered one God. They are one ontologically, even though the persons are distinct persons. This is a distinction that the aforementioned books have done very well. I do not think Ralph Smith has succeeded in this quite so admirably. I’m sure that if you were to ask Ralph Smith whether he believed in a social doctrine of the Trinity, he would say no. However, it does not seem to me to be apparent that he has sufficiently guarded against the social Trinitarianism implications. It should be fairly obvious, by the way, that this section on the Trinity is highly indebted to Ralph Smith’s books on the Trinity.