The Neglected Trinity (9)

Any Unitarian or deistic worshiper can praise God by using timeless divine attributes, speaking of God as beautiful, just or holy. But it takes a trinitarian Christian to praise God not only with attributes, but also in reference to the way those attributes are on full display in the actions of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in history. . . . In worship, trinitarian Christians constantly return to the record of God’s actions in history as the basis for praise, thanksgiving, lament and intercession.

—John D. Witvliet, “What to Do with Our Renewed Trinitarian Enthusiasm: Forming Trinitarian Piety and Imagination through Worship and Catechesis,” in Trinitarian Theology for the Church: Scripture, Community, Worship, 243

The Neglected Trinity (8)

Trinitarian worship enacts, reflects and savors the relationality or communion that comprises both divine life and the Christian life. The doctrine of the Trinity offers a vision of each that is fundamentally relational and interpersonal. . . . Christian worship is not obeisance by which we appease a divine tyrant. We do not sing loud or pray hard in order to generate divine favor—the perfect theology of worship if we wanted to worship Baal. Worship, rather, is the joyful and solemn exchange of gifts.

—John D. Witvliet, “What to Do with Our Renewed Trinitarian Enthusiasm: Forming Trinitarian Piety and Imagination through Worship and Catechesis,” in Trinitarian Theology for the Church: Scripture, Community, Worship, 241-2

The Neglected Trinity (7)

At the center of the Christian understanding of worship is the notion that God is not only the One to whom worship is addressed; God is also an agent in making our worship possible. The Holy Spirit inspires our worship and, when we are unable or do not know how to pray, prays for us and through us. Jesus Christ mediates our worship as the high priest who brings our prayers before God and who indeed “ever lives to pray for us’ (Heb 7:25, my trans.). This means that the triune God is active in our worship, receiving, inspiring and perfecting our words, thoughts, gestures and actions, a beautiful triune dance that makes our activity in worship not an onerous obligation through which we hope to reach God, but rather a joyful active participation in a divine mystery beyond our comprehension. . . . Trinitarian Christians celebrate and savor the mediatorial agency of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in every aspect of worship.

—John D. Witvliet, “What to Do with Our Renewed Trinitarian Enthusiasm: Forming Trinitarian Piety and Imagination through Worship and Catechesis,” in Trinitarian Theology for the Church: Scripture, Community, Worship, 240-1

The Neglected Trinity (6)

One of the reasons that many Christians have found little practical relevance of this doctrine for their lives is that our public worship—and therefore private piety—has become increasingly emptied of Trinitarian references. . . . In addition to the New Testament formulas for baptism and benedictions, ancient prayers and hymns planted the Trinitarian faith deep in the hearts of Christian people across many times and places. . . .  Many forms of worship today, however, have dispensed with these rich resources without replacing them with equally Trinitarian elements. . . . To the extent that our experience is not Trinitarian, it is not properly Christian.

—Michael Horton, Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples, 103-4

The Neglected Trinity (5)

The Trinity is not one doctrine among others, but gives distinctive shape to Christian faith and practice. . . . The Father, the Son, and the Spirit stride across the chapters of redemptive history toward the goal whose origin lies in an eternal pact between them. We worship, pray, confess, and sing our laments and praises to the Father, in the Son, by the Spirit. . . . We are adopted as children, not of a unipersonal God, but of the Father, as coheirs with His Son as mediator, united to the Son and His ecclesial body by the Spirit.

Michael Horton, Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples103