They call me Trinity

The divine Trinity — “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” — could also be known as “Mother, Child and Womb” or “Rock, Redeemer, Friend” at some Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) services under an action Monday by the church’s national assembly.

… A panel that worked on the issue since 2000 said the classical language for the Trinity should still be used, but added that Presbyterians also should seek “fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the triune God”… —Associated Press report by religion writer Richard Ostling

trinityA snarky commenter at Get Religion has suggested adding “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to the list.

The committee that created this 34-page report was not only concerned about finding a fresh approach to the Trinity, but it wanted particularly to find a gender-neutral approach, one that would not cause offense to those who find the traditional “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” language too masculine, too patriarchal, too traditional.

The danger, of course, is that adopting a cultural-political framework for examining the Scriptures may get you freshness at the expense of truth. The Trinity is a difficult mystery — God is One, and yet he is also three beings who are fully distinct yet fully joined into a single, integrated, eternal whole. Such a concept leaves us struggling to understand something that has no perfect parallel in our human experience.

We don’t think of God as having any sort of gender, at least not in the ordinary human sense.

And yet, Jesus himself referred to God as “Father” and even “Abba,” an Aramaic word that is similar to “Daddy.” Was he using language to say something important about the nature of God, or was he stuck with language that simply could not adequately describe the what he knew?

Some of the alternative descriptions of the Trinity proposed by the Presbyterians are:

“The One from Whom, the One through Whom, and the One in Whom we offer our praise.”

“Our Rainbow of Promise, our Ark of Salvation, and our Dove of Peace.”

“Our Sun, Light and Burning Ray.”

“Lover, Beloved, and the Love that binds together Lover and Beloved.”

What do you think? Have the Presbyterians gone too far, or are they on to something?

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  1. I think they’ve gone too far.

    There’s a sense in our culture that male is bad. Therefore, “God the Father” is bad. Therefore, we must find words that aren’t male.

    Cultural phobias shouldn’t drive theological terminology.

    I kinda like the “snarky” Rock, Paper, Scissors because it properly ridicules some of what they’ve come up with–though I think “Water, Ice, Steam” is the better physical equivalent.

    The more the mainline denominations plunge themselves into political correctness, the farther they get from theological correctness. Sooner or later (if they’re not there already), they’ll plunge themselves right into apostasy.

  2. I’m having trouble understanding how “mother” and “womb” are gender-neutral. Neutral of course, being neither male or female, which is just silly considering everyone is always one or the other. Sigh. Maybe something like “Parent-figure, Offspring, and divine essence.” Doesn’t that just make you all warm and fuzzy?

    On the other hand, I will say that Christian culture seems to be uncomfortable acknowledging or praising the female attributes of God…

  3. They’ve strayed SOOOO far that I merely have to shake my head in disbelief! When people become more interested in “political correctness” than they do the infallible TRUTH of the Word of God, then obviously there is something wrong! Political correctness is a joke and I must “politely” state that this recent movement of the Presbyterian Church is too! The Trinity is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit whether people “like” it or not, it doesn’t change the Truth!