13 June 2017

Covfefe 2017: More Miscellaneous Thoughts

(Go here and here to read my summaries of the valuable remarks on contemporary Trinitarian issues by Fred Sanders. And go here to read brief comments on presentations by David Haines and Alastair Roberts.)

Christopher Dorn also addressed the Trinity but his paper discussed how the Trinity did not appear in the Reformed orders of worship for celebration of the Lord's Supper. This lapse is puzzling in light of the centrality of the Trinity in the Eucharistic Prayers of the 4th and 5th centuries and the fully orthodox treatment of the Trinity in the theological works of the leaders among the Reformation. 

In any event, the work of the World Council of Churches in the 1960's attempted to rectify this situation but, like the ecumenical movement generally, this effort of the WCC--some of its best--has failed to "reform" the liturgies of the Lord's Supper in conservative Reformed churches. Dorn's conclusion, with which I fully concur, is that
If contemporary Reformed liturgists and worship leaders conclude that a Eucharistic Prayer misrepresents the gift-character of the Lord's Supper due to its themes of sacrifice, and therefore must be rejected, they should at least ensure that those Trinitarian themes that are in fact consistent with a Reformed theology of the Lord's Supper are embodied in the liturgies that they develop for their worship today.
Paul Nedelisky, now a Convivium regular and analytic gadfly, pressed his audience on the doctrine of divine simplicity (God has no parts even though the relations among Father, Son and Spirit are not identical). Like discussions of the relationships of the persons of the Trinity generally, divine simplicity is difficult to comprehend and has been expressed in philosophical terms that frequently bear meanings that are not "commonsense." Nor can we "read off" divine simplicity from the text of Scripture. Thus, in Nedelisky's words, divine simplicity is neither an essential nor a dogmatic truth. Not false, mind you, but rationally contestable.

It would not be an understatement to report that his audience remained unpersuaded. For me anyway, while it is certainly true that divine simplicity came to be expressed in a historically contingent manner, I continue to believe that the concept of divine simplicity is a necessary truth. Just don't ask me to explain it.

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