Friday, February 1, 2008


OK, so triocentric isn't really a word, but it could be. The Lutheran Church is emphatically christocentric, which is a word, because they seek to make Jesus Christ the absolute focal point in all of their theology and worship. Doctrines are typically defined in terms that point back to Jesus. Lutheran sermons typically begin with law and end with grace, that is with Christ. Thus they are christocentric. Pentecostals and charismatics are pneumocentric, focussed almost exclusively on the Holy Spirit. Thus their sermons and worship are focussed on seeing the Holy Spirit work. But I would rather be triocentric, focussing not on one or another member of the Godhead to the exclusion of the others, but worshipping all three. Doctrines can and should be defined in terms not of Jesus only but in terms of the Trinity. For instance, what is the Law? In other words, how do we Christians understand the Mosaic Law that was given on Mt. Sinai? Well, those reading the Law from a christocentric perspective generally will think of it as the Law that we are unable to fulfill, the Law that makes us transgressors. And we have and it does. But allow me to suggest that this is not enough. This is, I think, a shallow understanding of the Law. For the Law is not just rules by which we are to live but it is much more a revelation of the character of our three person God. God did not make up new rules for us but he explained in the ten commandments how we may imitate the community of the Trinity. He does not command us to do what he himself does not do. In keeping the Law perfectly we would become the image of God, and that is what the new testament tells us that we will be, for we are being transformed into his image day by day, and that by God's power and will as well as by our struggle and desire. But because the Law is a word-painting of God's image and God's likeness, a depiction of how the three who are God live in perfect unity, the Law is also a promise. From the beginning God set out to make us to be his image, a work that is not finished. But what God sets out to do, he will do! So we know that we will be his image at the proper time. Therefore we should think of the Law not as a list of rules that damn us, but as a menu of glories in which we will live together with eachother forever. The Law is our hope, it is our joy, it is our fervent desire and hunger. Or at least it should be if we took a triocentric view of the matter rather than a christocentric view. Therefore, I will call this page TRIOCENTRIC. Hope to see you here. Doug


The Masked Badger said...

The longer I have been a Christian, the less I have worried about the Trinity and the more I have been caught up in the thought of Him. Once i scrabbled about for verses to defend an orthodox idea from Jehovah's Witnesses etc. Now I can't help but naturally see the Bible as Trinitarian almost everywhere I look. I appreciated the criticism in, I think, one of Ralph Smith's books that systematic theologies place "Trinity" under the attributes of God, not His essential nature and being.

Regina said...

the beginning (of a blog or a word) ...a very good place to start according to Maria :-)

Triocentric (it seems to me) both elaborates and encapsulates the christocentric vantage. Christ is the promised Sign and perfected reign that points to the Father by virtue of an arrival and mortal existence and brings the Holy Spirit by virtue of a necessary death or departure.

Furthermore, what you say about "the Law" (as other than human laws or rules) suggests it is unfolding and an inevitable outcome given that God is faithful even if we are not or even if we fail to observe the Law (i.e. forget that we are in Covenant with God) and so you write: "...what God sets out to do, he will do!"

Doug P. Baker said...

Very well put, Regina! That middle paragraph is so right on!