Trinity, Multi-ethnicity and Authority

The doctrine of the Trinity takes the cake as the most mysterious and confusing doctrines of the Christian faith.  But I've also found it to be one of the most beautiful.

The being and person of God, according to the doctrine of the Trinity, demonstrate that unity and difference can exist at the same time.

This doctrine gives us hope for families and for the church, which both require an astonishing amount of unity despite vast inherent difference.  If God can be one God and, at the same time, three persons - Father, Son, Spirit - then perhaps we can be one family and one church.

But in both the family and the church, ideas of authority are necessary and culturally accepted.  Parents have some sort of authority over the children and pastors / elders have some sort of authority over the church.  On top of that, most cultures seem to invest one person in the marriage with authority over the whole family (husband, matriarch, etc...).

And it is tempting to run the wrong way around the circle and say "Since we see authority in these other places of unity and diversity, there must be authority in the Trinity."

And this is what some theologians claim, promoting "the eternal subordination of the Son."  The Father has authority over the Son and Spirit.  The Son has authority over the Spirit.  And, mysteriously, this authority doesn't dissolve unity.

And if the Trinity just encouraged us in families and churches, we'd be in good shape.  Everything seems to fit.  Hierarchy and authority provide order and stability.  It makes sense to us.

What happens to the authority element when you talk about multi-ethnicity?  Read Scripture broadly and it's blatantly clear that God's vision of a church is of one multi-ethnic church, both diverse and united.

And this is where the breakdown happens.

Which ethnic community should have authority in the church?

Working with college students (who aren't married) in the parachurch (where none of us have a lot of authority), I'm free to run the right way around the circle.  I can start with the Trinity and move to application.  And I can apply to the multi-ethnic nature of the church before I have to start thinking about applications to the family and to polity.

I'm free to avoid confusing diversity with authority.

And I like that.

3 comments:

  1. Greetings Steve

    On the subject of the Trinity,
    I recommend this video:
    The Human Jesus

    Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you to reconsider "The Trinity"

    Yours In Messiah
    Adam Pastor

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  2. Thanks, Adam.

    It'll be a while before I get a few free hours and I'm a pretty big fan of "The Trinity".

    Could you share a couple of insights you got from the video?

    Thanks,
    Steve

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