Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Participation in the Grace of the HolyTrinity

Yesterday I shared the section from The Moscow Agreed Statement (1976) of the Anglican-Orthodox Joint Doctrinal Commission dealing with the Eucharist. Today's post is a significant couple of paragraphs from that same dialogue, this time from the Dublin Agreed Statement of 1984. 

Participation in the Grace of the Holy Trinity 

Trinitarian doctrine presupposes participation in the grace of the Holy Trinity. The doctrine One God in Trinity is not an abstract philosophical formula. It originates in the personal and corporate experience of the grace of the Triune God which has been and is communicated to us in Jesus Christ. This experience is not to be understood in a merely subjective way. It is rooted in the historic fact of the incarnation and God's revelation of himself in Christ. Doctrine is the attempt to express this revelation in such a way as both to safeguard it from misunderstanding and to enable others to share in it. The formulation of doctrine, which is based on the Scriptures and on a tradition of careful theological reflection, should in no way be seen as an independent intellectual exercise. Ultimately, as St Gregory the Theologian (of Nazianzus) says, 'It is impossible to express God and yet more impossible to conceive him' (Theological Orations II, 4). Thus doctrinal formulae should in no way detract from the mystery of God which is handed down in the Church from the apostles by the Fathers. It is not the doctrine of the Trinity but the One God in Trinity, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, that constitutes the object of Christian worship and faith. Although we may sometimes speak separately of God the Father, sometimes of God the Son and sometimes of God the Holy Spirit, it is always understood that there is no division of one person from another, but all and each reveal in unity the grace and glory of the one Godhead.

Christians participate in the grace of the Holy Trinity as members of the Christian community. It is the Church which is filled by the Holy Spirit and it is precisely for this reason that every human person has the possibility of becoming a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1.4). The Holy Spirit praying in us heals and renews us at the centre of our being, that is to say in our hearts. The healing character of the grace of the Holy Trinity in the life of the individual believer and of the Church has important implications for the whole life of contemporary society.


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