Recently, there’s been quite a debate about the importance of defining the Trinity within the American church. The question of the importance of and adherence to the historical Nicean and Athanasian creeds has arisen in addition to a discussion of the words we use to ‘describe’ the members of the Trinity (e.g., persons vs manifestations). This issue is only occurring because churches have drifted away from the historic confessions, creeds and catechisms that grounded the church for hundreds of years. Without these deep roots and a knowledge of church history, old, settled debates are recast as new topics to explore. Several helpful articles have been written regarding how to think about essential doctrines and the language that we use to explain our dogma.
- Contending for Our All: This is a message from John Piper is about the life of Athanasius and his defense of the deity of Christ against the Arian heresy. Piper offers seven lessons from his life. The most relevant are 1) Defending and explaining doctrine is for the sake of the gospel of Christ’s glory and our everlasting joy. 2) Loving Christ includes loving true propositions about Christ 3) The truth of biblical language must be vigorously protected with non-biblical language.
- Piper and Trinitarian Precision: If you prefer to read a summary of Piper’s message, this is the place to go
- Spectrums of Theological Truth and Error: The article provides several helpful frameworks including for how to think about the essentials and non-essentials of the faith. One example has three dimensions: 1) what must be believed 2) what must not be rejected and 3) what should be believed