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Saturday, February 23, 2008

A responce to a new christian in regards to the Trinity

"This is a responce to a new christian who bought a book about the Trinity. He didn't know that the author was Reformed. So he asked what was Reformed Theology and if it was ok to read books about the Trinity from Reformed Protestants. He also wanted to know if the Reformed view was opposed to the Orthodox view"

Some segments of Reformed theology oppose the Eastern Orthodox understanding of the Trinity.

There is an argument right now in the Reformed World about "Aseity". One side believes that each person of the Trinity has "Aseity".

This is real close to Tri-Theism or Three gods instead of One God.

I may be wrong but I think the ORthodox view is that the Father Alone has Aseity because the Son is eternaly begotten from the Father and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father.

Those in the Reformed camp that advocate this view reject the Nicene Creed in favor of the Athanisian Creed. They don't like the idea of the Son being derived from the Father.

The Reformed View in all it's forms is anti-subordinationist.

The formers of the Nicene Council were closer to what I would call "Subordinate Triniterians". The Reformed camp rejects that idea. And this is why in general they tend to be modalistic.....except for that one group.

There are other differences as well. Like the Filique clause and the modalistic tendencies of the West. I know this sounds wierd since I just mentioned a segment of the Reformed that believe that each Person of the Trinity has "Aseity". But in General the west is bent in the direction of modalism.

But to give a brief discription of Reformed theology I would say:

Reformed Theology starts with Zwingly and culminates with John Calvin. It is the second wave of the Protestant Reformation that is mostly based on Calvins institutes of the Christian religion, his commentaries, the "three forms of unity" of the Dutch Reformed Church and the Westminister Confession of Faith of Prespyterian Churches. I may be wrong but I think John Calvin rewrote or edited the Anglican 39 articles of Faith.

The essentual core of Reformed Theology are

Total inability

Unconditional election

Limited Atonement

Irresistible Grace

Perseverence of the Saints

Infant Baptism

The 5 Solas (Grace alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, Christ ALone, to God the Glory Alone)

Communion as symbolic (Zwingly camp)

Communion as spiritual (John Calvin's compromise to the Zwinglians....This is what alot of the Reformed believe)

Most of the Reformed reject Baptismal regeneration. There is a reformed group called "federal vision" and another one called "new perspective on Paul" that may lean toward Baptismal regeneration but in general they are against it.

They believe in two sacraments........and even in that they understand grace in regards to these sacraments are different than how we understand it.


Church ruled by elders (priests and deacons only)

The Reformed Faith has been influenced by the hard deterministic teachings of Augustine(in his later years)

The Renaissance, and the Enlightenment................ not to mention other movements since then.

Over all it would be best to read Orthodox sources about the Trinity first, so that you will be well grounded in the original understanding of the Doctrine. After that it would be easier to discern the differences and similarities in the later western mutations.



Godismyjudge said...

I like the new song...

My understanding (and I could be wrong) is the primary difference between the Reformed and Orthodox views of the Trinity, is that the Reformed say the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, but the Orthodox say the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father directly.

Aseity, is somewhat hard to define. But the Reformed are neither denying that the Son proceeds from the Father or affirming tri-theism.

God be with you,

Jnorm said...

Thanks for the reply, but "Robert L. Reymond" and a few others refuse to believe in the Eternal generation of the Son.

I think the Problem started with John Calvin when he wanted to believe the Son had Aseity like the Father. Reymond's view has the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all having Aseity. As if there were Three independant co-eternal persons.

And The Reformed that do believe in the eternal generation of the Son only do so in regards to His Person, not His Essence.

The Orthodox believe in the Monarchy of the Father.

But thank you for your thoughts.


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