Trinitarian Theology

| Intro | What is Trinitarian theology? | Trinitarian theologians: Anderson | Barth | D Campbell | JM Campbell | Colyer | Dawson | Deddo | Feazell | Fee | Hart | Hunsinger | Kettler | Kruger | McKenna | McSwain | McVey | Metzger | Molnar | Morrison | Newell | Nordling | Parry | Purves | Rogers | Root | Thimell | Tkach | Alan Torrance | David Torrance | James B. Torrance |Thomas F. Torrance | Walker | Wauchope | Young |
———————

You’re Included – introduction

The You’re Included videos, a “unique interview series devoted to practical implications of Trinitarian theology,” comprises 110 conversations published by Grace Communion International (GCI) at regular intervals from the first interview in May, 2007, with Baxter Kruger, to an interview in January, 2012, with David Torrance. GCI maintains a complete list of participants, alphabetized by author.

In addition to the considerable appeal of any particular video, the You’re Included series as a whole displays two particularly noteworthy characteristics:

  • Each video is a conversation, not a lecture.
    Propositions are not rehearsed on PowerPoint slides ready to be memorized as part of a logical theological system. Rather, these are fireside chats with notable theologians and writers which offer us a glimpse of their personalities and why they do what they do. Most authors are professional theologians based in universities. Some are popular writers, teachers, pastors or youth ministers. If you’re seeking a way to explore theology through personal dialogue and in an open-ended manner, this conversational style will be attractive in and of itself.
  • The series reflects the ecumenical character of Trinitarian theology.
    The guests come from practically every major branch of Christianity, including Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian or Reformed, Methodist and charismatic traditions (I hope we will soon see some representatives of Eastern Orthodoxy as well). Needless to say, they do not agree in many details, but they nevertheless constitute a broad and consensual vision within the Nicene tradition of Christ-centered, Trinitarian theology.

Watching the You’re Included episodes with any given author is a great way to get a sense of any book under discussion. You’re Included episodes are available from iTunes in video and audio formats, on youTube, and from the You’re Included section of the GCI website; the latter generally offers a transcript and discussion questions.

J. Michael Feazell, host of You're Included
J. Michael Feazell, host of You’re Included (2007-2012)
Thank you, Michael and GCI, for this wonderful series! (More info)

Why this page?

Triquetra:  God is Trinity, God is loveI’m not a pastor or theologian, nor affiliated with GCI; just a lay person trying to think more deeply about my faith. In “Marriage is the gospel made visible,” I expressed the good news of Christian faith from a Christ-centered and therefore Trinitarian perspective, unlike, say, The Four Spiritual Laws, which makes us and our sin the starting point. In doing so, I’m grateful for the You’re Included video series. In a previous post, “Resources for reflecting on The Shack,” I wrote:

“The simplest way to become acquainted with the tradition of Trinitarian theology reflected in The Shack might be to watch the entire series of You’re Included podcasts, and to explore the authors and publications mentioned in these conversations. These videos offer an excellent resource for pursuing a personal study of Trinitarian theology or for holding a regular discussion group.”

To pursue my own personal study of Trinitarian theology, I compiled the list below which juxtaposes the YI episodes with links to each participant’s published books, institutional affiliations and websites, and to additional videos available outside the YI series.

I stumbled upon the You’re Included series as I was beginning to read through the works of Thomas Torrance, Karl Barth and George MacDonald, and the video conversations proved to be just the guidance I needed at just the right time in this ongoing and ever more exciting journey. (Thanks, Michael and GCI!) So this page remains a program for broadening my own reading, and I will update it as additional episodes appear in the future on an irregular basis, and as the authors publish additional works.

What is “trinitarian theology”?

Trinitarian theology does not refer to an intellectual puzzle or a speculative argument in metaphysics. Nor does it denote a mental assent to the Trinity as an abstract doctrine or secondary belief. Rather, Trinitarian theology refers to a personal approach to theology that arises out of the revelation of God in Christ. Through the Incarnation God reveals himself as an eternal communion of love between the Father, Son and Spirit. Trinitarian thinking is Christ-centered, with the Incarnation as the starting point. Every area of doctrine organically connects to, and is grounded upon, the Trinitarian communion of God revealed in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Our understanding of the Trinity therefore serves not as an isolated doctrine but as a grammar of theology, a way of thinking that searches out the natural connections between every doctrine and the revelation of God in Christ. Here are some helpful preliminary links provided by Grace Communion International which offer a basic introduction to Trinitarian theology:

  1. Who is Jesus? by Dan Rogers (12 mins); a short sermon on some Trinitarian passages in the gospel of John.
  2. “The Doctrine of the Trinity – Does It Make Any Diffference?” by J. Michael Feazell (15 mins); a sermon on the centrality of the doctrine of the Trinity in practice.
  3. Foundations of Theology (26 min); a condensed outline of Trinitarian theology produced for GCI pastors, featuring Joseph Tkach, Mike Feazell, Dan Rogers, and Michael Morrison.
  4. “The God Revealed in Jesus Christ” (web article and booklet, which may be read as a précis or companion to the “Foundations of Theology” video).
  5. Participatory, Trinitarian Faith, 4 lectures by Elmer Colyer. The first lecture consists of a historical sketch of the eclipse of Trinitarian theology since the 17th century and the consequences of this eclipse for both liberalism and fundamentalism, with some concluding comments on the 20th-century recovery of the doctrine of the Trinity in the work of Karl Barth, Thomas Torrance and others (more below).
  6. Thomas F. Torrance, “The Basic Grammar of Theology,” audio lectures #5-10 [cf. ch. 6 of The Ground and Grammar of Theology (T&T Clark, 1980) and other Torrance sources below].

Trinitarian Theologians

(featured in GCI media, alphabetized by last name)

  1. Ray AndersonRay Anderson

  2. Karl BarthKarl Barth *

  3. Douglas CampbellDouglas Campbell

  4. John McLeod CampbellJohn McLeod Campbell and the 19th-century Scottish background for 20th-century Trinitarian theology *

  5. Elmer ColyerElmer Colyer

  6. Gerrit Scott DawsonGerrit Scott Dawson

  7. Gary DeddoGary Deddo

  8. Mike FeazellJ. Michael Feazell
    • Mike Feazell hosts the You’re Included video series. Until his retirement in December, 2011, he served as Vice-President of Grace Communion International and Executive Editor of Christian Odyssey magazine. He earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from Azusa Pacific University, and has written many articles on the GCI website. Read the GCI Update on Mike’s retirement – Mike, thank you! I wish you all the best, although I hope to see additional episodes with you from time to time. 🙂
    • Books:
      • Liberation of the Worldwide Church of God. Feazell played a significant role in the extraordinary transformation of the Worldwide Church of God from a legalistic sect preoccupied with end-times prophecy to an evangelical denomination, later renamed Grace Communion International. For more on this story, see the section on Joseph Tkach, Jr., below.
    • GCI videos:
      1. GCI Together: part 1; part 2 (autobiographical interview).
      2. A Word from our Sponsor: many videos.
      3. Feazell appears in Foundations of Theology.
      4. Seated with Christ – 54 min lecture from the 2010 Orlando GCI conference.

  9. Gordon FeeGordon Fee

  10. Trevor HartTrevor Hart

  11. George HunsingerGeorge Hunsinger

  12. Christian KettlerChristian Kettler

  13. Baxter KrugerBaxter Kruger
    • Perichoresis Ministries, Perichoresis.org (books, sermons, teaching series audios, videos, articles and other resources).
      Support Perichoresis Ministries.
    • Blog
    • Podcasts: Baxter's Ongoing Thoughts and Perichoresis.org Podcast
    • Books:
    • My posts:
    • You’re Included:
      1. Kruger and Steve Horn (audio only): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
      2. Kruger 1: Jesus is the center of all things.
      3. Kruger 2: Jesus has united himself with us.
      4. Kruger 3: Jesus’ role as the center of all things, and God’s plan for our adoption before the foundation of the world.
      5. Kruger 4: The Western world has two views of God: a harsh and unapproachable God, and a Jesus who came to save us from the harsh God. But the Father is actually just like Jesus.
      6. Kruger 5: William Paul Young’s book The Shack illustrates the triune God’s love for all humanity.
      7. Kruger 6: Dr. C. Baxter Kruger discusses the goodness of God and our moments of darkness.
    • Other videos:
      • Free to Live conference: Understanding who we are in Jesus. A GCI conference held in May, 2011 in Grand Junction, CO. Four sessions (4 hrs total; DVD files available).
        • Session 1: On the first evening of the conference, Baxter introduces the themes of who we are in Christ in a relaxed, story-telling format with some sharing from his own personal journey. Key verse: “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” (John 14:20).
        • Session 2: Our understanding of who God is and what he is like is the foundation for understanding everything else, including who we are. What would it be like to see God through Jesus’ eyes, and to know the Father as Jesus knows him? Key passage: Luke 15.
        • Session 3: How we hear the whisper of evil: “I am not… (wanted, worthy, special, loved…)”; how we respond psychologically by self-salvation, attempting to fill the void of our “I am nots”; how God dwells inside our darkness and how Jesus gets his “I am” inside our “I am nots.” Cf. Baxter’s “soul diagrams“. Key verses: Romans 8.15 (“you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!””) and Galatians 4.6 (“God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!””).
        • Session 4: The Father, Son and Spirit knew, loved and claimed us, in our brokenness, before the foundation of the world, and now find their way into our darkness and pain to meet and heal us, bringing us with all our brokenness into their embrace. Key passage: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:3–5; cf. 2 Timothy 1.9).
      • GCI Conference, Perth, Australia, 2011, “How the Gospel works out in our lives.” Website and program. Part 1 (Baxter Kruger); Part 2 (Bruce Wauchope); Part 3 (Kruger); Part 6 (Wauchope).
      • Additional videos at perichoresis.org

  14. John McKennaJohn McKenna

  15. Jeff McSwainJeff McSwain

  16. Steve McVeySteve McVey

  17. Paul Louis MetzgerPaul Louis Metzger

  18. Paul MolnarPaul Molnar

  19. Michael MorrisonMichael Morrison

  20. Roger NewellRoger Newell

  21. Cherith Fee NordlingCherith Fee Nordling

  22. Robin ParryRobin Parry

  23. Andrew PurvesAndrew Purves

  24. Dan RogersDan Rogers

  25. Andrew RootAndrew Root

  26. Daniel ThimellDaniel Thimell

  27. Joseph TkachJoseph Tkach, Jr.
    • Joseph Tkach, Jr. – GCI President and Pastor General – contributes to Trinitarian theology in his ministry of serving the church as the leader of GCI. Tkach is on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Evangelicals, for Grace Communion Seminary, and for the GCI Office of Reconciliation & Spiritual Mediation. He serves on the Doctor of Ministry Committee at Azusa Pacific University and contributes numerous articles and videos to the GCI website.
    • Books:
      • Tkach, and his father Joseph Tkach, Sr., led GCI through its extraordinary transformation after the death of Herbert Armstrong. At that time GCI, then known as the Worldwide Church of God, was caught up in legalistic and prophetic preoccupations, but in the 1990’s it became an evangelical denomination, later renamed Grace Communion International. This remarkable story, outlined on the GCI website, is illuminated in Joseph Tkach, Jr., Transformed by Truth (also see the autobiographical interviews in GCI Together and the section on Mike Feazell, above). Because of its prior history, GCI appears to be ideally prepared to appreciate the implications of the gospel of grace as understood in Trinitarian theology.
    • GCI videos:
      1. Foundations of Theology
      2. GCI Together (autobiographical interview)
      3. Speaking of Life – a weekly series, each episode about 3 minutes long, available in video or audio, and from iTunes. I recommend Speaking of Life as a devotional and conversation-starter here. Tkach introduces the You’re Included video series in this episode of Speaking of Life.
      4. Other GCI videos and contributions by Tkach.

  28. Alan TorranceAlan Torrance

  29. David TorranceDavid Torrance

  30. James torranceJames B. Torrance *
    • University of Aberdeen, The Sunday Times obituary
    • Books:
      • Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace
      • Thomas Torrance, James Torrance, David Torrance, A Passion for Christ
      • J.B. Torrance’s many influential articles include the following:
        • “Covenant or Contract? A Study of the Theological Background of Worship in Seventeenth-Century Scotland,” Scottish Journal of Theology, 1970, 23:51-76.
        • “The Contribution of McLeod Campbell to Scottish Theology,” Scottish Journal of Theology, 1973, 26:295-311.
        • “The Covenant Concept in Scottish Theology and Politics and its Legacy,” Scottish Journal of Theology, 1981, 34:225-243.
        • “The Vicarious Humanity of Christ,” in T.F. Torrance, ed., The Incarnation (Edinburgh, 1981), 127-147.
        • “Calvin and Puritanism in England and Scotland – Some Basic Concepts in the Development of ‘Federal Theology,'” in Calvinus Reformator: His Contribution to Theology, Church and Society (Potchefstroom, 1982), -.
        • “Strengths and Weaknesses of the Westminster Theology,” in Alasdair I.C. Heron, ed., The Westminster Confession in the Church Today (Edinburgh, 1982), 40-54.
        • “The Incarnation and Limited Atonement,” Evangelical Quarterly, 1984, 55:83-94.
        • “Interpreting the Word by the Light of Christ or the Light of Nature? Calvin, Calvinism, and Barth,” in Robert V. Schnucker, ed., Calviniana: Ideas and Influence of Jean Calvin, Sixteenth Century Journal Monograph, vol. X (Kirksville, 1986), 255-267.
        • “The Concept of Federal Theology: Was Calvin a Federal Theologian?” in W.H. Neuser, ed., Calvinus Sacrae Scriptura Professor: Calvin as Confessor of Holy Scripture (Grand Rapids, 1990), 15-40.
        • James B. Torrance, “Introduction,” and ed., John MacLeod Campbell, The Nature of the Atonement (2000).

        .

  31. Thomas F. TorranceThomas F. Torrance *

  32. Robert WalkerRobert Walker
    • You’re Included:
      1. Walker 1: Who Christ is for us, and he has faith for us.
      2. Walker 2: God the Father was in Jesus Christ, as God become human, who took our humanity into the very heart of God and gave us a new humanity in the process.
      3. Walker 3: Implications of Jesus’ Resurrection – Jesus resurrection is our freeing from death and sin, and it is the beginning of the reconstitution of everything in Christ.

  33. Bruce WauchopeBruce Wauchope

  34. William Paul YoungPaul Young
    • You’re Included:
      1. Young 1: How The Shack was written, and the nature of relationship is embedded in the Trinitarian character and nature of God.
      2. Young 2: The popular view of God as a Christianized Zeus or Gandalf-with-an-attitude as opposed to the loving Father portrayed by the “prodigal’s father.”
      3. Young 3: The disconnect many people experience in trying to trust the “angry” God who requires his Son’s death.
      4. See also Young’s talks at Mariner Church and Fuller Seminary (download the latter at iTunes by searching for “William Paul Young”).
      5. Baxter Kruger 5: William Paul Young’s book The Shack illustrates the triune God’s love for all humanity. See also Baxter Kruger, The Shack Revisited: There Is More Going On Here than You Ever Dared to Dream (2012).

* Note: John McLeod Campbell, Karl Barth, Thomas F. Torrance and James B. Torrance do not appear in any of the You’re Included episodes, but they are listed above because they are often discussed in these conversations. Indeed, they are discussed so frequently that watching the entire You’re Included series is one of the most effective ways to be introduced to their theology and influence.

To all of the above participants: Thank you for sharing in such an accessible way! You and your books are providing me a path through the desert and a shining light in the darkness.

——————
This page will remain a work in progress, revised as new episodes, books, videos and other resources appear.

| Intro | What is Trinitarian theology? | Trinitarian theologians: Anderson | Barth | D Campbell | JM Campbell | Colyer | Dawson | Deddo | Feazell | Fee | Hart | Hunsinger | Kettler | Kruger | McKenna | McSwain | McVey | Metzger | Molnar | Morrison | Newell | Nordling | Parry | Purves | Rogers | Root | Thimell | Tkach | Alan Torrance | David Torrance | James B. Torrance |Thomas F. Torrance | Walker | Wauchope | Young |
———————

32 Responses to Trinitarian Theology

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  18. Paul Kurts says:

    Greetings, you may add Kurts to your list. Trinitarianletters-Your Adoption and Inclusion in the LIfe of God is the title to my book. It is recommended on the GCI web site. http://www.trinitarianletters.com

    Paul Kurts
    paul.kurts@gci.org

  19. kvmagruder says:

    Thanks, Paul! I’ve ordered a copy, and look forward to reading it.
    Peace, Kerry

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  23. Robert Capon would make a great addition to this list. Arguably C.S. Lewis too, but that’s somewhat up in the air.
    Great resources! Thanks!

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  27. neilcolombe says:

    I don’t think Paul Kurtz book is recommended by GCI?
    He can correct me if I am wrong!

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  31. Kerry
    Thank you for your wonderful resource on Trinitarian Theology.
    May I suggest a Blog seemingly not listed?
    Ted Johnson’s http://thesurprisinggodblog.gci.org/
    Loads of helpful articles!

  32. Abraham Thomas Jr. says:

    Greetings,
    I am also not a theologian, nor a Pastor in GCI or and other Church leader. I do consider myself a member of Grace Communion International.
    I am a Black American whose interest was peaked a year back on the subject of the Incarnation, and the importance of the teaching by Athenasius.
    I do think that at this time of year ( BLACK HISTORY MONTH ). More should be said about him, and just how important he was to the Trinitaruan teaching of the Early Church’s belief in Trinitarian Theology.
    Why is it, that most presenter I see are of caucasian persuasion, whenever I am watching most videos concerning the early Church writing?
    Just a curious black American, whose experiencing God’s Word and rejoicing in it.

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