Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Ordo Salutis organised according to the Trinity


Alistair Bain said...

This is exactly why I don't reckon having a formal ordo salutis is very helpful.

Union with Christ. Stick to that.

Surely each member of the Trinity is involved in each of these acts?

Luke Isham said...

But what would keep an ordo-salutis organised around union with Christ from becoming a form of Arian soteriology?

("Union with Christ" is a descriptive category not an organising principle. The biblical data is so varied and broad to be anything else.)

(While I think there is both a mutual indwelling and sharing of tasks, I also wouldn't want to get to a place where the persons of the Trinity became interchangeable.)

Alistair Bain said...

Why do you need an organizing principle?

I'm in no way suggesting that the members of the God head are interchangeable.

Luke Isham said...

Romans 8:30 + the need (perhaps personal) to see how the all the doctrines of grace relate to one another.

jamesanita.blogspot.com/ said...

Hey Luke

I would be nice to have some "Go To" passages with each of these.

Hope the family is doing well

Cheers James

Andrew Bowles said...

Alistair's question is important, because as it stands it is probably a tritheistic diagram.

In terms of the balance between unity and distinction, it might help to draw some arrows between the actions or organise them non-linearly to indicate that something is primarily the action of a particular Person but draws us into the relationship with the other two. For instance, 'Glorification' is certainly part of becoming like Christ, but then who is it who indwells us to transform us 'from glory to glory'? And in becoming like Christ do we begin to take on the glory of the Father who dwells in unapproachable light? The same could be said for the rest.

Andrew Bowles said...

The point being that thinking in a Trinitarian fashion is not saying that each activity is singular and could be done by any 'interchangeable' Person, but that every action is necessarily Triune in its outworking. It is not a matter of the Spirit saying to the Son 'I'll take over Glorification if you're feeling a bit busy', but that glorification only happens because the Triune life is being formed in the believer.

Luke Isham said...

Hi Andrew,

I've thought about your comments since I first read them. Relationships and Glorification: yes two failings, laying out the diagram in the way I have, doesn't allow for showing how the relationships between the persons of the Trinity are expressed in our salvation. Also I wasn't sure where to put glorification!

I'm not sure if tritheism is a valid criticism.

A good point that every (Salvific) action is triune, just as every action reflects our union with Christ or every action reflects God's grace.

Going back to Al's opening question, each person of the Trinity takes a different initiative in salvation so even if this diagram was only a rough approximation, it gets us thinking both about the Trinity and Salvation. Which is far better than thinking about neither or thinking about them as unrelated things!

Andrew Bowles said...

You're right, it is better to be thinking about the Trinity in salvation rather than ignoring it, so it is a helpful attempt.

Tritheism sees the three Persons as separate centres of will and action, so it is a tendency when you talk about each Person having a different 'initiative' in salvation or their actions as discrete. I'm of the school of Basil of Caesarea, where in all things the Father initiates, the Son accomplishes, and the Spirit perfects. So, you can chain different parts of the ordo in that way, for instance election-justification-sanctification, the process of salvation initiated by the Father, accomplished by the Son and brought to perfection by the Spirit.

Luke Isham said...

Yes and amen!