Yesterday I got my hands on a copy of Gregg Allison’s Historical Theology which, besides being able to stop a bullet if used to shield yourself in a gunfight, does a brilliant job of laying out original source material in a way which makes it accessible and sets it in context.
Take Trinity for example. In my systematic theology class we’ve been covering the doctrine of the Trinity, and looking at the story of how the creedal articulations of God’s three-in-one-ness were developed.
Yes any discussion of Trinity will eventually make your head hurt, especially one that lasts three hours straight, but it’s a beautiful and necessary affirmation.
I was particularly interested in a quote Allison points us to from Hippolytus which ties together both the nature of the Triune God in God’s-self, and how the actions of our God play out in history in a way consistent with his Tri-unity.
“For the Father is indeed one, but there are two persons, because there is also the Son; and then there is a third, the Holy Spirit. The Father decrees, the Word executes, and the Son is manifested through whom the Father is believed on.
The economy of harmony is led back to one God; for God is one. It is the Father who commands, and the Son who obey, and the Holy Spirit who gives understanding. The Father who is above all, and the Son who is through all, and the Holy Spirit who is in all.”
Certainly there is more to be said, and nuance to be added, but such developed writing a hundred years before Nicaea is worth pondering and wrestling with in our attempts to speak rightly of God today.
You can find Historical Theology here, or at your local bookstore.