April 25, 2010

The Biblical/unBiblical "Trinity"

Oddly, this illustrates my pet peeve perfectly. At the end of this post, I'll explain just how it does so.

Nick Norelli (naturally) was posting about why the Trinity both IS and ISN'T "Biblical". In doing so, Nick quoted Rob Bowman at length. A few key excerpts will help set me up to make my own point:
Trinitarian scholars routinely acknowledge that the Bible does not teach the formal, systematic doctrine of the Trinity; that the concept of the Trinity is nowhere explicit in Scripture; that the biblical writers did not themselves think of God as triune or conceptualize God as triune; and so forth.
Systematic theology is an intellectual activity or discipline that seeks to answer specific questions that arise from the reading of Scripture. The Bible may not answer these questions explicitly, but it may provide information or statements from which the theologian infers an answer.
In short, sola scriptura means that all doctrine must derive from the teachings of Scripture, not that we are restricted to using words found in the Bible or to using concepts that one or more biblical writers explicitly formulated.
I'm just fine with all that, by the way. If you need more, read Nick and Rob. But now, as promised, here's what this does in my brain.

Why can Systematic Theologians "infer" while discouraging Historians from doing the same? As rightly stated above, Christian Theologians construct all kinds of Metaphysical Truth on the basis of their inferences from scripture. So why do the same people turn around and dissuade any would-be Christian Historians from reconstructing Chronological Fact?

One possibile answer: Math. It's possible we've merely lacked someone to put the numbers together correctly. The chief roadblock on Gospel Chronology seems to be John 2:20, about which my own ice-breaking suggestion begins HERE.

Another possible answer: Tradition. What Christendom has been doing for centuries provides good support for what it (mostly) wants to keep doing. In stark contrast, what Historians do has often undermined much of traditional dogma.

The problem is that it's all the same. We construct Truth. We reconstruct Facts. But which one, do you suppose, is more within reach?

Don't worry. Again, I'm all for keeping the doctrine of the Trinity, so far as anyone on Earth understands it. I'm also for Rob Bowman when he says: "the question, once asked, is unavoidable. The theologian does his best to answer it in a way most faithful to the teaching that the Bible does present." I just want that point applied evenly.

What burns me up is that Theologians, having stood with the utmost confidence upon their own constructions of otherworldly truth, much of which we cannot ever confirm absolutely from our mortal perspective - those same Theologians will then turn right around and pooh pooh our ability to express confidence in Historical reconstructions.

It's all politics. It is also unconscionable to be so inconsistent.

So say I. What say you?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

God knew that it would burn you up. And so He allows it.

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