Journey: The Lifegiving Difference

Read: Spirit of Unity and Diversity

As far back as my seminary days in the early 1970’s, I can remember Dr. Dennis Kinlaw saying that the Trinity is the distinguishing mark of Christianity.  And since then, I have heard him say it repeatedly and read his more extended writings about it.

McLaren says essentially the same thing in this week’s chapter.  And he and Dr. Kinlaw stake their claim in a view of the Godhead that is far from abstract, but is rather immensely practical.  The Trinity is simultaneously revelational and experiential.  In the Trinity we see the nature of God, and we see that nature expressed as a holy love that is personal and relational (I-Thou, not I-It).

It is in the Trinity where we discover that God has made us, redeemed us, and entered into fellowship with us.  It is in the Trinity where we find grace to see ourselves as beloved sons and daughters of God, which makes it clear that we are also brothers and sisters to each other.

The Trinity is, therefore, our source of life and the basis for our hope.  The philosophical and theological descriptions are not meant to confuse us, but to give us confidence that we have come to know and relate to the God who cannot be fully grasped by humanity’s best thinkers and deepest thoughts.

The Trinity brings us into Mystery, which in the end says, “Bring forward the highest and best you know, and discover that it barely scratches the surface of All There Is.  The Trinity is the final word that this world is not our final home–that Reality requires an eternity to reveal it.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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