Thursday 3 February 2022

The Master’s Seminary Journal 32, 2 (2021)

The latest Master’s Seminary Journal has been posted online, this one focused on the Trinity.

A pdf of the journal can be downloaded here.

Peter Sammons


J.V. Fesko

The Covenant of Redemption and the Ordo Salutis

In this article Dr. Fesko brings rich historical insight into the necessity for the pactum salutis and its relationship to the ordo salutis. This article retrieves the historical consensus that intra-trinitarian processions, missions, and ordo salutis are all interrelated. Drawing from the WCF and Vos, he proves that to neglect, minimize, or disregard any one of these has crushing ramifications. While establishing the necessity of these doctrines and answering objections, Fesko demonstrates a precision in Trinitarian thought which helps establish long-lost guard rails that need to be regained by evangelicalism.

Richard C. Barcellos

Change in God Given Creation?

In this article Dr. Barcellos takes on the important question often asked, “Was there any change in God when He created the world?” Or, how can a Triune being act in creation and remain immutable? Barcellos answers these often-raised questions by relying on a rich history of the Church. If the Church has univocally answered this question and yet modern “Christians” are starting to answer it another way, what does that mean for modern Evangelicalism? Is there anything historically Christian about the modern answers? What are the ramifications of equivocating on this important issue? All that and more are aptly addressed in this article by Barcellos as he tackles the Theistic Mutualists new take on the Trinity and Creation.

Kevin Zuber

Indications of the Trinity in the Old Testament

The Trinity is not explicitly revealed in the Old Testament, but after the revelation of the Trinity in the New Testament and after that revelation was given greater clarity in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (AD 325/381), it became possible to recognize the indications of the Trinity revealed in the Old Testament. This article examines key Old Testament texts that contain these indications. This examination includes: Texts that Reveal Aspects of the OT Doctrine of God (that are pertinent to the doctrine of the Trinity); Texts that Reveal Indications of the Trinity including: Texts that Reveal Plurality / Triads—Conversation Texts and in a Blessing and Vision; and finally, Texts that Reveal the Indications of “Others” in Relation to Yahweh—the Angel of the LORD, the Spirit of the LORD, the Servant of the LORD, and Wisdom. This study demonstrates that the revelation of the Trinity in the Old Testament, while not explicit, does disclose truth about the Trinity that is pertinent to a full appreciation and understanding of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity.

Peter Sammons

When Distinction Becomes Separation: The Doctrine of Inseparable Operation in the Contemporary Evangelical Church

The doctrine of the Trinity has made a rich impact on the believer’s theological taxonomy. In fact, Christians cannot even explain divine action without utilizing the precise, time-tested language upon which Trinitarianism rests. Sadly, many Bible scholars today are so narrowly focused on their modest field of “expertise” that they intentionally exclude this type of language in the name of academic fidelity. The modern exegetical task, therefore, has been hamstrung by a focus on the myopic. This article seeks to demonstrate that those Bible scholars who refuse to utilize historical- theological categories and terminology in their exegetical method will be left proliferating inadequate exegetical conclusions at best or damning errors at worst. A test case of John 1 will confirm the inadequacy of the ahistorical exegetical method to explain divine action apart from the nomenclature of inseparable operations. In this instance, such a method ends up resorting to either inaccurate language or practical tritheism. Furthermore, this article aims to prove that the taxonomy of inseparable operations is the necessary ramification of classical theism (in accordance with the doctrines of pure actuality and divine simplicity in particular). Therefore, classical theism—and the terminology supplied therein—functions as a proper guardrail for explaining divine action in a way that keeps the exegete from the pitfalls of tritheism or social trinitarianism.

Phil Johnson

A More Excellent Name: Eternal Sonship and Psalm 2:7 in Hebrews 1

In this article Executive Director of Grace to You, Phil Johnson, masterfully addresses the pitfalls with Incarnational Sonship while retrieving the Biblical necessity for Eternal Generation. Johnson focuses on the New Testament (Hebrews 1) use of the Old Testament (Psalm 2) as a key to properly retrieving the doctrine of Eternal Generation. In this piece Johnson shows how the church of recent generations has neglected and abandoned Eternal Generation on faulty grounds, misunderstanding monogenes, and aims to aid the church in retrieving this precious doctrine taught in Scripture.

Fred Sanders

Incorruptible Trinity: Sketch of a Doctrine

The doctrine of divine incorruptibility deserves more focused attention than it has generally received, especially in the modern period. This article draws the doctrine from its Scriptural sources (especially making use of the phthora word-group) and sketches its basic shape for systematic theology. First, it establishes the doctrine as a statement about God’s nature (that it is not subject to decay), and then traces its implications through Christology and soteriology. Finally, with the overall doctrine sketched out, the article suggests what is especially trinitarian in the doctrine of God’s incorruptibility.

Glenn Butner

The Obedience of One Man

This excerpt from The Son Who Learned Obedience, is excellent evidence why proper Trinitarian orthodoxy informs the taxonomy of incarnational theology. Modern evangelicalism has been too swift to violate the principle of Communication of Properties (from Theistic Mutualists, to social trinitarians, to EFS and ERAS, to name a few), where they read back into the Metaphysics of Trinitarian dogma (the ontological trinity) by ignoring the taxonomy of ecumenical councils. This trend has created a new Christology that is not Trinitarian in the historic sense of the term. Butner aptly shows why this error must be avoided if the church is to maintain its creedal confessions for future generations. In this article Butner invites us to sit at the feet of Maximus the confessor and see what’s really at stake in the Son’s Obedience.

Craig A. Carter

Denying Divine Eternity: Can Evangelical Theology Resist the Temptation?

In this article Craig Carter addresses the new wave of assaults on divine timelessness. This assault has ranged from quarters of liberal Protestantism from Moltmann, to Kant, to Open Theism, but most importantly has found a home in Evangelicalism. Modern evangelicals have fallen in love with the seeming simplicity with which these quarters of liberalism have answered the difficulty of explaining the Eternal Trinity and the Economic Trinity. In this article Carter masterfully demonstrates why giving up on the metaphysical attributes under the anti-metaphysical pressure of late modernity is a bad idea.

Mike Riccardi

Triune Particularism: Why Unity in the Trinity Demands a Particular Redemption

The doctrine of the Trinity is the fundamental doctrine of Christian theology, and thus is rightly brought to bear on every doctrinal locus. Trinitarianism is particularly relevant to the doctrine of the atonement, and the extent of the atonement more specifically. The doctrine of inseparable operations (grounded in consubstantiality) has implications for the unity of the saving intentions and acts of the persons of the Trinity, namely, the Son cannot act to atone for the sins of any more or any fewer persons than the Father has elected and than the Spirit will regenerate. Particular redemption coheres most consistently with a particular election and a particular regeneration, and thus inseparable operations provides a theological argument for embracing a particular rather than universal atonement. These conclusions are vindicated by examining how the multiple intentions view of the extent of the atonement fails to account for Trinitarian unity, demonstrating that particular redemption is most consistent with orthodox Trinitarianism.

Matthew Barrett

What Is Eternal Generation? (and Interview)

This contribution by Matthew Barrett is an excerpt from his book Simply Trinity. In this piece Barrett helps present the doctrine of Eternal Generation and its importance to a proper doctrine of the Trinity. Following this excerpt, we have an original interview between the TMSJ managing editor Peter Sammons and Matthew Barrett on some of the most pointed questions facing Christian education concerning the doctrine of the Trinity.


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