Nov 4th, 2006 · Categories: PCUSA · 5 Comments

PCUSA: The Trinity – lost in the FOG?

The authors of the FOG Foundations Draft 5 have some work to do on their “Core Theological Commitments”. The triune God of the Bible is MIA.

Not surprisingly (this being the PCUSA), they couldn’t seem to bring themselves to mention “God the Father”. Indeed, the word “father” appears only twice in this theological “core”, both in scripture passages that do not name God so much as refer to him:

  • “Father of us all” (Ephesians 4:6)
  • as part of the church’s call to be “Christ’s faithful evangelist”, to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”

Thankfully, they didn’t choose a politically correct, gender-sanitized paraphrase, or even those references wouldn’t appear.

In section 1.01 God’s Activity, this inability (or unwillingness) to deal with the essential relationship between God the Father and God the Son leads to a bit of uncertainty about the Trinity itself, described in Jim Berkley’s blog. As he noted, Jesus (section 1.0102) and the Holy Spirit (1.0103) seem to be separate entities, apart from God (1.0101).

The confusion is evident in the statement that the God of section 1.0101 (not the Jesus of section 1.0102) created the heavens and the earth. The New Testament teaches that the Jesus of section 1.0102 was the member of the Trinity who did the creating described in the Old Testament: “by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth”. (Colossians 1:16). So who is the God of section 1.0101?

Berkley offers the opinion that section 1.01 presents – not a Reformed understanding of the Trinity – but the heresy of Modalism. Modalism would answer the question this way: The Old Testament manifestation of God (1.0101) created the universe. Later, this same single person (not a member of the Trinity) manifested himself as Jesus Christ (1.0102) and was credited by Paul for the creation he accomplished in his earlier manifestation.

Further, the writers don’t seem to know – or be willing to proclaim – some important truths about Jesus. For example, section 1.0102 Jesus Christ creates the impression that he did not exist before his incarnation in human form. Nor does it mention that he is the Son of God, of one substance with the Father. Both of these lapses point to Modalism.

As Berkley observed, this is not a good start. It could be that the committee hurried over the theological foundation in order to get on with the fun business of writing a new constitution – and meeting an absurd deadline. A lot more is liable to be lost in the rush to have a new FOG ready for the next GA 19 short months from now.

This entry was posted on Saturday, November 4th, 2006 at 12:59 pm and is filed under PCUSA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “PCUSA: The Trinity – lost in the FOG?”

  1. Bayou Christian Says:

    November 9th, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    Man I didn’t even know this was out there – I guess I was napping.

    Thanks for the work.

  2. Grumpy Says:

    November 9th, 2006 at 8:01 pm

    Kudos to The Layman, PresbyWeb and most of all Jim Berkley for publicizing it.


  3. will spotts Says:

    November 11th, 2006 at 3:52 pm

    I shudder to think what they will come up with.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    November 22nd, 2006 at 9:53 pm

  5. Grumpy Says:

    November 24th, 2006 at 1:27 am

    It’s probably not surprising that Richard Dawkins’ anonymous fan left only an URL. Dawkins is the poster boy for postmodern religious fanaticism. To believe as he does requires much greater faith than that required of a mere Christian. Dawkins is a smart man, but, like most of his co-religionists, he has allowed his own belief system to blind him to the very science he purports to serve. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. So is a soul.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>