Building on the work of Robert Jenson and especially JND Kelly, Jason Vickers argues in Invocation and Assent: The Making and the Remaking of Trinitarian Theology that the proto-creedal affirmations of Trinitarian theology that are found in the various “rules of faith” specifically aim to undergird confidence in the efficacy of the rites and liturgies of the church for salvation. They are not simply “summaries of Scripture” (they leave out Israel entirely) nor simply doctrinal identity markers. Rather, they identify the name of the God who saves so that He may be invoked in praise and worship.
Vickers summarizes, “Trinitarian confessions of faith should be understood as extensions of the proper personal name of God given in the baptismal formula. These materials are best understood as sets of identifying descriptions designed to designate or pick out the God in whose name persons were to be baptized. The early church selected and used identifying descriptions highlighting the saving activities of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and it thereby helped catechumens understand how it was in and through baptism that their sins could be forgiven and their nature restored, as well as what they could expect from the Christian God” (pp. 23-4).
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Monday, September 3, 2012 at 11:56 am
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