In my study of John last night I referred people to a post by Michael F. Bird, author of the book Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction. I have been using his book as one of my theological references for the study. He responded to a review in which he discussed some of the same issues I’ve discussed. I promised a link last night, and here it is.
For what it’s worth, I believe that the trinity expresses a combination of various biblical materials and the experience of the early church in language that is demonstrably not in the Bible. I don’t see this as a problem. In general, when we write doctrinal statements of any sort, they reflect a combination of the way we read scripture, our traditions, our personal and collective experience, and of course the function of our reason. I perceive myself as seeing the connection as looser than Bird asserts, so I’m certainly willing to defend him from critics who say he hasn’t claimed enough. On the other hand, he may have claimed too much, and in this case, perhaps more than needs to be claimed.
Nonetheless his book is fun. Note also that the subtitle illustrates the point I was making. I tend to think that the more systematic our theology gets, the less biblical it is. Being both systematic and biblical seems to me almost a contradiction in terms. The Bible is not systematic. But that’s part of the fun of my current study!