Trinitarian Community

This week my pastor mentioned in passing while preaching about community, the text in Genesis that states, “let us create man in our image.”  He paused briefly to acknowledge that this is a reference to the trinity.  I have been thinking a lot lately about the idea of the trinity as our model for community.  God eternally exists in a community of three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit.  We are created in the image of God.  We are created for community.  Our communities should emulate the community of the Trinity.

The most intriguing takeaway for me is regarding the idea of authority.  While there does exist some heirarchy among the persons of the Trinity, each always defers to and glorifies the other members.  The Father has placed all authority under the Son.  The Father and the Son send the Spirit.  The Spirit Glorifies the Father and the Son.  Christ honors the Father.

How should we emulate this model of authority in community?  I believe we as husbands, fathers, mothers, pastors, mentors, and leaders should always seek to honor those we lead.  We should pass our authority to them whenever possible and empty ourselves of glory for their sake.  What other thoughts come to mind when you think of the Trinity as our model for community?

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~ by Joshua Long on August 17, 2008.

6 Responses to “Trinitarian Community”

  1. Disambiguation: Beware the use of the term ‘trinitarian’ community lest we confuse it with Trinitarianism (AKA Modalism): the belief that God exists as one devine person who assumes three different ‘modes’ at various times. In our community, God is all three, Father, Son and Spirit at all times.

  2. I must disagree. Trinitarianism in every place I have ever seen it refers solely to the belief that God is SIMULTANEOUSLY one and three. In fact, modalism is not Trinitarian at all, but Unitarian: a belief in one personage of the Godhead who is “manifested” in different ways at different times. I think we’d be hard pressed to find any writing that equates Trinitarianism with modalism.

    In any case, how might a correct understanding of the Trinity influence the way in which you view community and authority?

  3. Ah, very interesting. My apologies, I was relying on my understanding of Modalism obtained 7 years ago while debating the issue with Jason Ouellette at Mardel. I will have to read up on the terms again. In short: Oops.

    One way that we can apply the example of the Trinity to our church communities is CONTINUOUS fellowship. The Three are not loosely associated with each other; they are constantly in fellowship with one another. Likewise, in my experience, the most vibrant church communities I’ve been a part of are the ones with relationships that are reinforced on a more than weekly basis. Not only are mid-week activities beneficial to the growth of the church and the strengthening of relationships and accountability, but also weekend retreats, mission trips and periodic household visits from church leadership. Redeemable for $0.02…

  4. PS You’re completely right. I just did a quick search online because I am out of town and, therefore, away from my favorite printed resources and a light bulb went off in my head. I’ve confused my ‘isms’! I knew it was a hyper-syllabolic word ending in ‘ism’, but it wasn’t Trinitarianism. The word I was groping for was Monoarchianism. Even with my substandard understanding of Latin I should have been able to break down Tri versus Mono and realize that I was about to misspeak.

  5. Wow – maybe I need to pay more attention in church because I was thinking about how good the roast was going to be,

    I like your thoughts though. It’s not very often we look at life and community through the lens you just put up. Rob Bell tackles some of this authority stuff in Sex God. I like it. Maybe if I can wrap my head around all of this I’ll give more input. You guys are smart.

  6. How was the roast? I would have been thinking of roast also if there were one in my oven. I didn’t read Sex God. What did Bell talk about in dealing with authority? Did he mention the Trinity?

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