How about that for a title?
Just two half-formed thoughts really that flow from recent musings on the trinity…
First, Bobby has some interesting posts here and here that touch on (among other things) Barthian methodology and avoiding universalism. Now one way of describing universalism is the conflation of church and world – that is church and world become, in the end, identical. Can trinitarian theology help?
Well Christ is Priest of God. And we’ve been seeing that Christ and His Father are one – not identically but with important self-distinctions upheld in their mutual relations. Christ as Priest has His distinct existence which is neither identical with the Father nor identical with humanity. He is God for man and Man for God and this mediatorial existence is absolutely essential to His Person. But in this mediation He does not collapse into either party. He remains, in eternity, distinct.
Now the church, corporately, is a royal priesthood. And, again, the absolutely essential nature of the church is mediatorial. We do not exist for ourselves but find our very being in reaching out into the world. But, church does not for this reason collapse into world. Church remains, in eternity, distinct.
Now it’s interesting that Barth’s trinity is explictly not ‘three divine I‘s’. He states emphatically that his trinity is a ‘single subject thrice repeated’. Here (IMHO) there is not adequate room for self-distinction in the Godhead. I wonder whether the fruit of that, down the line, is inadequate distinctions being drawn between church and world? Just a thought.
Secondly, more briefly. If, as I’ve argued, the equal Persons are differently gifted and perform different roles, doesn’t this re-shape what we mean by gender-equality? Equality, if it’s grounded in God’s equality, includes and upholds real differences in gifting and function. I mean let’s do the exegetical work on the relevant passages, but beware playing the ‘equality’ card in a way that would commit you to modalism when speaking of God!