The Trinity, before and after the Reformation
I want to share with you the sermon I heard his past Sunday at Christ Church in Santa Fe [flash, mp3]. It’s available temporarily at the official former link; I’ve cached a copy (also temporarily) at WordPress and will happily take it down if asked. I couldn’t figure out how to live link an archival mp3 at the source.
This is the church I attend when I’m in town and don’t have other commitments; this sermon is fairly typical in structure and flow relative to the ones we’ve heard in the last couple of years. The Scripture readings have been omitted from the audio. Nearly every week there is a crystalline moment in Martin Ban’s sermon where he says something that I haven’t heard before, or says something in a way I haven’t heard before, that I suspect is a work of inspiration, revelation, or sheer hard work.
The leadup to the moment in this sermon starts about nine minutes in, when he turns his attention to the Trinity as expressed in Ephesians 1:3-14. Listeners short on time are encouraged to skip the exploration of Steely Dan lyrics in the opening section prior to 9:00 or so. He delves into what Paul is up to, Paul’s relationship to the church at Ephesus, etc. to reach the main text at about 13:00. The point, as he sees it, is that Paul is telling us that God’s gift to us is Himself, and our relationship with Him.
He also attempts to unravel some aspects of predestination of free will; I can’t tell you whether he succeeds. He also covers one of the compulsory forms in Trinitarian theology: Augustine’s explanation of the Persons of the Godhead giving themselves to one another. There’s also some elaboration on the word oikonomos. As best I can tell this is all orthodox, at least from a conservative Presbyterian/PCA perspective.
The moment comes at about 22:00, where he contrasts the various creeds before the Reformation with the positions of the Roman Catholics and the Protestants after the Reformation, where the Catholics focus on the Magisterium and the various Protestant Confessions focus on the authority of Scripture. He says, essentially, that the central relationship of Christianity, as emphasized in the creeds, gets demoted to second behind the authority of either the Church or the Scriptures.
I am not entirely sure he offers a solution to this problem, but I appreciate seeing the tension pointed out. It is as they say food for thought and grounds for further research.