"The Triune God" by Fred Sanders

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darinhouston
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"The Triune God" by Fred Sanders

Post by darinhouston » Wed Mar 10, 2021 12:35 pm

I heard this book reviewed recently. Fred Sanders is one of the leading Trinitarian apologists and theologians. I thought I'd share a couple of passages from this book as raised in the review for context and to guard against authority bias as this debate is growing today.

This is the type of reasoning that seems to go right past most folks today. The more I've followed Trinitarian apologists, critically, these past few years of exploration in this space I've found very few honest theologian who have a solid framework of sound reasoning for their Trinitarian positions. One commentator I read recently stated it well. Paraphrasing... "speculation is fine in theology, but when you do so, you're subject not only to grammar and biblical exegesis, but to philosophy and analytic theology governed above all by the rules of logic and sound reasoning."
Fred Sanders wrote:"The distinctions drawn by Trinitarian doctrine are the ones that must be presupposed if it is true that the two missions are the ultimate self-revelation of God. There are, therefore, in the eternal essence of God three distinct persons."
You have to "presuppose them" and then from that presupposition you can conclude such a thing to be true? I guess he's at least being honest, whether he intended to or not. He even discusses the necessary "eternal presuppositions" at one point. He describes the recommended approach for considering the trinity as taking the presuppositions in your head, then "re-reading" the texts to "draw them out." Hmmm, I think there's a word for doing this.

Whether they admit it explicitly or not, they are clearly and more openly leaning more on speculative catholic and strikingly non-reformed traditions and creeds rather than exegesis. But, at the same time, they are becoming much more explicit and honest in some ways as to the usefulness of actual Scriptures to prove their position. On pages 162-165, he states:
Fred Sanders wrote:"The steady march of grammatical historical exegesis has tended in the direction of depleting trinitarianism's access to its traditional equipment until a prominent feature of the current era is the growing un-persuasiveness and untenability of the traditional proof-texts that were used to establish and demonstrate the doctrine. Most theologians no longer expect to find in the New Testament a formal Trinitarianism.... The overall trend of sober, historical grammatical labors has been toward the gradual removal of the Trinitarian implications of passage after passage..... Many arguments that once seemed foundational to Trinitarianism no longer apply."
I'd say this is a refreshingly honest assessment from a staunch Trinitarian on the exegetical value of individual passages of Scripture to prove the Trinity.

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darinhouston
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Re: "The Triune God" by Fred Sanders

Post by darinhouston » Wed Mar 10, 2021 2:25 pm

Another quote from that same section:
Fred Sanders wrote:If forced to choose, the theologian would have to choose the truth of Scripture rather than the words of scripture."
In other words, creedal interpretation to be superior to the text of scripture. So, re-read the scriptures in light of the creeds.
Fred Sanders wrote:[Socinian exegesis has made] the justification of the doctrine of the Trinity on exegesis more difficult."
So, it seems he admits that the Socinians were dealing more honestly and literally with scripture than the Trinitarians.

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