Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Who ya gonna call (upon)?

Okay...I can be sacrilegious sometimes. And when I saw this, I snickered pretty hard.

Then I started theologizing and realized that there was a deeper point to be grasped. They got the wrong person of the Trinity.

For you non pop-culture mavens, the guys at the bottom are the Ghostbusters.

Does your church equivocate on the Trinity? Is worship offered to the Father, in the name of the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit? Or do they take modalist language like "Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer"? Is it worth losing the covenant-keeping God revealed in the Scriptures and Christ Jesus for the non-gendered bland deity of "God"* or "Holy One"*?

*(Biblical names, no doubt - but reflective of a paucity of uses of Scripturally shaped - and even mandated, in the Baptismal Formula from Christ & the Apostles - language used in the Bible.)

6 comments:

Sam said...

I have to ask, is God that picky? Religion has gotten so complicated. I'm not a theologian, but if I remember correctly, the concept of the trinity was developed in the 3rd or 4th century? And we've spent the last 700 years trying to explain it.

I love the picture, by the way.

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...

The doctrine of the Trinity is found in the New Testament. While certain controversies that erupted in the third and fourth centuries required the Church to respond with greater clarity and authority on the matter, the basics of the formulation were there the whole time - especially when you look at the ancient liturgies ante-dating the conciliar statements.

The doctrine of the Trinity is a shortcut for us to say what the Scriptures say about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. It also limits our speech /conceptualization so that we don't speak contrary to the self-revelation of the Godhead that we have received in Holy Scripture. We cannot comprehend God's Trinitarian nature...God is infinite and incomprehensible. But God is not infinitely incomprehensible. We can (and do) know things about God (see Romans 1), even if we suppress what we know. And since God has revealed Himself to us in the Scriptures and in the person & work of Jesus Christ, we can (and should) apprehend at least what is shown in the Scriptures about the Trinity.

How picky is God about how we deal with His self-revelation? Well...assume you told me you were a mother, a wife, and a daughter and I insisted on only talking about your motherliness? Or disregarded all of those things and instead focused only on you as a blogger (which is true enough - but not what you told me about yourself)? Or went out in left field and talked about you as a Mongolian Cricket Player and Neurosurgeon. Even if I thought I were paying you a complement, would I be (if it is untrue)? Would it be "picky" of your friends who know you to tell me "That's not Sam at all!"

Viola Larson said...

Chris,
I believe there are some real indications of the Trinity in the Old Testament too. For instance in the very beginning we find the Spirit of God “moving over the surface of the waters.” But also, and one of my son-in-laws, did his doctoral dissertation on this, most of the appearances of the angel of the Lord can be seen to be the Eternal Son.
One of my favorite passages of this is the story of Samson’s mom being told by the angel of the Lord that she will have a son. If you remember the dad is upset that he wasn’t the one who was visited so the Angel comes back. When Manoah , Samson’s dad, tries to get him to say for dinner, the angel tells him instead to prepare a burnt offering and the angel goes up in the flame of the offering. Also Manoah tries to get him to tell them his name. The angel replies “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” This can be connected to Isaiah 9:6.

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...

My favorite Christophany (appearance of the 2nd Person of the Trinity in the Old Testament) is when the Commander of the Angel Armies shows up to Joshua. Joshua asks: "Whose side are you on? Ours, or our enemy's?" The commander of the armies basically says: I'm not here to take sides...I'm here to take over!

Oremus

Blessed Jesus, reveal yourself to your struggling, hurting, dividing churches...not as one who takes our sides, but one whose side was riven for us. For you alone are Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen!

Red_Cleric said...

Agree with your comments Chris but I should point out that you're missing the fourth ghost buster; Ernie Hudson.

I know that was merely an oversight on your part.

Alan

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...

Silly Alan. That would make it less Trinitarian...right?