William Ames (1576 – 1633) was used by the Lord to influence Puritan thinking and beyond in England, on the Continent, and (through his writing) in the New World. One of his most important works is The Marrow of Theology (Amazon), the translated version of Medulla theologica (1623) from his lectures. Ames’ clear thinking can help us in our current discussions regarding Trinitarian relations.
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As the debate regarding the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS) has continued, Ames’ reminder that how we speak of subsistences and essence in the Godhead is so important. Withholding further comment, here is the raw data from Marrow I.v.i-xv. Tolle lege
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1. This subsistence, or manner of being [subsistentia] of God is his one essence so far as it has personal properties.
2. The essence is common to the three subsistences. As far as essence is concerned, therefore, the single subsistence is are rightly said to exist of themselves.
3. Nothing is attributed to the essence which cannot be attributed to each subsistence in the matter of essence.
4. But what is attributed properly to each subsistence in the matter of subsistence cannot be attributed to the essence
5. The subsistences are distinguished from the essence, because the mode of subsistence, though consolidated with the essence, are distinguished from it considered by itself. Continue reading
Here’s Kostenberger on Trinity and missions:
Rather than being one of several aspects or implications of John’s trinitarian theology, mission was shown to be the nexus and focal point of his presentation of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, individually and in relation to one another. Hence it can truly be said, not only that John’s mission theology is trinitarian (which in and of itself is a significant statement), but that his trinitarian teaching is part of his mission theology – a truly revolutionary insight.
The insight is revolutionary because, if heeded, it calls the church to focus its major energies on acting on and acting out her Lord’s commission, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (20:21), in the power of the Spirit, rather than merely engaging in the study of God or cultivating personal holiness (as important as this may be within the larger framework presented here). The insight is revolutionary also because a proper understanding of John’s trinitarian mission theology ought to lead the church to understand its mission in trinitarian terms – that is, as originating in and initiated by the Father (the “one who sent” Jesus), as redemptively grounded and divinely mediated by Jesus the Son (the “Sent One” turned sender, 20:21), and as continued and empowered by the Spirit, the “other helping presence,” the Spirit of truth. Continue reading
John Owen in Communion with God:
Commune with each member of the Trinity. The Father is the fount of love. The Son inducts us into both his personal and purchased grace. The Spirit is our Comforter.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Despite the image of St. Pat above, I’m sporting my orange (not green!) in support of Irish Presbyterianism. Patrick was an ardent missionary, and labored to see the Gospel brought to Ierne. His well known prayer, “Patrick’s Breastplate” is printed below. May Christ be with you, before you and behind you today by faith.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.