Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Reformed understanding of the Trinity circa 2008

The Christian Research and Apologetics Ministry (CARM) run by Matt Slick, it seems to me, reflected the mainstream Reformed view in the 1990s and early 2000s concerning where Reformed theology was in relation to apologetics. Just a decade ago or so, a period which seems like a long time already after the sea change that has occurred from then to 2020, Reformed apologetics was all about engaging the secular world with the truths of the Reformed faith, and the most prominent ministry then was Ligonier Ministries headed by the late R. C. Sproul.

It seems prudent then to enquire into what was taken to be the standard Reformed views at that time concerning certain subjects, especially those that are controversial in this time. At CARM, Matt Slick had in 2008 published an article concerning the Ontological and Economic Trinity, and some excerpts are noted below:

Since we see different roles within the Trinity, does this signify a subordination among the three persons? The clear answer seems to be yes. But remember, affirming this is not the same as advocating the heresy of subordinationism. We can say that there is a subordination of the Son to the Father in role (as a father-son relationship would naturally have), but we also say that subordinationism (difference in nature) is wrong.

But, as is said above, if there is no difference in roles among them, there can be no distinction between them. It is only by recognizing and accepting the difference of roles that we can acknowledge the Trinity at all.

By definition, each person of the Trinity must have his own will; otherwise, they are not persons.

Now, read this article in light of the 2016 ESS fiasco, and ask yourself: Who has changed their position, and why? The answer is not hard to figure out: It is the 2016-2020 Reformed pastors and theologians like Liam Gollligher who have changed their position, and the reason why they have shifted their position is due to an embrace of Thomas Aquinas and Thomistic/ Aristotelian philosophy of being. Without Thomas or Aristotle (or the mediation of people like Dolezal), none of this would have happened.

Who has changed their understanding of the Trinity? It is the new "classical theists" who have shifted in their doctrinal understanding of the Trinity, not the rest of us. We want no part in this so-called "Ressourcement" of classical sources if it brings us into bondage to Aristotelianism.

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