From an evangelical point-of-view, there are various issues relating to the doctrine of God, coupled with many sub-issues dealing with the existence of God, the attributes of God, and the Trinity to name a few. Many of these issues challenge the orthodoxy of the doctrine and attempt to change the face of Christianity as a whole. However, the modern evangelical church and academy must strengthen the orthodox of the Trinity in order to foster Christian unity, highlight the sovereignty and immutability of God to a secular world, and generate a more intense desire for the full knowledge of God.
First, the modern evangelical church and academy must strengthen the orthodox of the Trinity in order to foster Christian unity. For evangelicals, and modern Christians as a whole, God provided a more complete revelation of Himself through the person of Jesus Christ, thus providing a more vivid and holistic depiction of the Trinity than that of the Old Testament. However, as Louis Berkhof insinuates, while the doctrine of the Trinity is not specifically prescribed in Scripture, a combination of both biblical proofs and human experiences helped determine the orthodoxy for it.
With the numerous challenges to the orthodoxy of this doctrine over the years, John S. Feinberg offers a practical reason for maintaining orthodoxy concerning the doctrine of the Trinity, which is the confident expectation for unified responses and dealings from all three Persons of the Trinity. This Trinitarian unity should foster unity within the church and academy, which is severely lacking across the board, and help highlight a sovereign and immutable God.
Second, the modern evangelical church and academy must highlight the sovereignty and immutability of God to a secular world steeped in relativism. Since absolutes seem to no longer apply in modern culture, the sovereignty and immutability of God becomes ever more important, since these two divine attributes stress God’s authority and control over all things. Since this violates fallen man’s self-serving, sinful nature, many question and outright deny His sovereignty. In turn, without an absolute powerful God, there can be no absolute truth, only relativism.
A key method of highlighting these two divine attributes of God is the effective demonstration of freedom that comes through a Christian life ruled by the absolute sovereignty of God. As Bray confirms, the freedom supplied from God’s sovereignty is incomparable to any other due to its access to the wisdom, holiness, and might of God, which is a key part of the life of a Christian. In essence, freedom through His sovereignty cultivates the desire for the full knowledge of God through His Spirit.
Third, the modern evangelical church and academy must generate a more intense desire for the full knowledge of God. Coupled with the orthodox view of the Trinity, this desire is generated through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit for all believers. Furthermore, it is by God’s Spirit, who searches the depths of God and knows the things of God, that believers come into the full knowledge of God. One can easily envision what would happen within the modern church and academy if every single member cultivated a desire for this type of relationship with the Spirit of God, as well as the unity that would ensue.
As it stands now, the modern church is so disjointed and divided over some issues that, in the grand scheme of things, simply do not matter. I am of this opinion because the same question continues to gnaw at me each day: how can there be so many ‘interpretations’ of one Scripture inspired by one Spirit, especially if that one Spirit indwells each person doing the interpreting? The error does not lie in the most sovereign and infallible God, but in the fallible mind of man. In addition, I continue to see the struggles between various denominations when Scripture warns against such denominations.
In conclusion, by strengthening the orthodox of the Trinity, highlighting the sovereignty and immutability of God, and generating a more intense desire for the full knowledge of God, the modern evangelical church and academy would become more unified in their beliefs and become a stronger voice for absolute truth in a relativistic world.
1. Gerald Bray, The Doctrine of God: Contours of Christian Theology (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 151.
2. Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology: New Combined Edition (Cambridge: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996), 85.
3. John S. Feinberg, No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2001), 442.
4. Stephen N. Williams, “The Sovereignty of God,” in Engaging the Doctrine of God: Contemporary Protestant Perspectives, ed. Bruce L. McCormack (Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2008), 168.
5. Bray, 218.
6. Feinberg, 442-443.
7. 1 Corinthians 2:10-14, KJV.
8. 1 Corinthians 1:10, KJV.