Many people see the trinity as an obsure and ansillary belief in the Christian system. It is relegated to an afterthought for only the most theologically curious. This approach is unfortunate because it fails to take into account the deep signifance of trinitarian understanding.
In a sentence, the trinity is the matrix that holds all other Christian doctrines together. If the harmonious activity of the Divine Community is removed, so too is all historic, orthodox Christian understanding. Trinitairian belief holds all other Christian belief in orbit around God.
With the previously described harmonious activity of God in mind (The Father activates. The Son accomplishes. The Spirit animates.), consider other significant Christian beliefs:
- The Father creates heaven and earth out of nothing.
- The Son is the Word and the Wisdom that brings all things into being.
- The Spirit moves over creation, bringing it into motion and to life.
- The Father reveals himself through his word.
- The Son is the living Word, the one to whom the written word testifies.
- The Spirit superintended with the writers of the word to make sure that what they wrote bore faithful witness to the Son.
- The Father choses (elects) those who will be saved.
- The Son pays the penalty for their sins on the cross.
- The Spirit regenerates them so that they may respond in faith and repentance.
- The Father calls us to holiness.
- The Son gives us an example of holiness.
- The Spirit strengthens us for holiness.
Trinitarian understanding brings a richness, a texture, a beauty to Christian theology. Without it, doctrines can be flat and two-dimensional. With it, they come alive with mystery, like the God to whom they point us.