James Hart: Truly Trinitarian Worship

“Nil nisi te, Domine. Nil nisi te.” (“Nothing but you, Lord. Nothing but you.”) –St. Thomas Aquinas

Dr. James Hart
Dr. James Hart

The late theologian and ethicist Stanley Grenz was a good friend of IWS. While his wife Edna worked on her doctorate at IWS, which she received in 2005, he would hang out on campus with us, eating meals, coming to chapel, sitting in classes. He was our first alumni seminar speaker. At Bob Webber’s invitation, he gave the Presidential Address in 2003. In that memorable address he exclaimed, “Christian worship must be self-consciously Trinitarian and Christological.” Sounds right, doesn’t it? But what does it mean? I think perhaps Stan meant this: true Christian worship celebrates above all the Paschal mystery—the passion, death, resurrection and glorification of Christ—and in that celebration participates in the divine life of the Trinity. Being self-consciously Trinitarian embraces and even necessitates being self-consciously Christological. Let’s explore this a bit.

Andrei Rubilev, Holy Trinity Icon
Andrei Rubilev, The Holy Trinity

Trinity Sunday is sometimes known as the preacher’s nightmare. I was asked for the first time to preach in my home church on the preacher’s nightmare Sunday! What can you say about the Trinity? It’s a great mystery, right? I actually love Trinity Sunday, because it gives us the opportunity to contemplate the question, “Who is God?” The Trinity can be confusing; but it’s not just a theological Rubik’s Cube to be solved, rather it is THE summary statement of what we believe about who God is. [Read more. . .]

Audio and video of this Presidential Address are available here.

About the author

President of IWS and DWS Graduate.



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