Robin Parry: Realize it or not, it’s the Triune God you encounter and experience
This post was contributed by worship leader Mike Hale.
Dr. Robin Parry, Theological Books editor for Wipf and Stock Publishers, and author of Worshipping Trinity: Coming Back to the Heart of Worship, was recently interviewed about having a Trinitarian perspective in worship. As part of the interview, Parry [pictured below] was asked what Christians may be missing if they don’t have some kind of understanding of the Trinity and the relationships within the Trinity and how we are drawn into that relationship. (For even though they believe in the Trinity as a fundamental doctrine….most members don’t think about it and they wouldn’t be able to explain it if they were asked.) What do they lose? They know they are Christian and they know they have faith, they know they are saved by grace and they experience and walk in Christ to the degree that they can, but what are they missing—what could they have if they better understood?
Parry: I think what we have to say first of all, is that their experience of God is Trinitarian even if they don’t realize it, because there is no other way of encountering God, because there is no other God to encounter.
And so when anyone has an encounter with God it is the Triune God they encounter. But it can enrich their encounter with God, their subjective understanding and experience of that relationship with God, and it can free them up to walk with God in more liberated ways, as it were, to understand better the God who it is they encounter…the God who it is that is at work in their lives working out their salvation. Of course it’s still the Holy Spirit working in them even if they have never heard of the Spirit or cannot conceptualize those things rightly. But it would enrich their relationship with God in many ways.
For instance, it would enrich their engagement with God as a Father to realize that it is not through their effort to try to please the Father….or somehow if they misconstrue their Trinitarian theology…somehow placate the Father who is really not very kindly disposed toward them….to realize that in fact you don’t have to placate God. God doesn’t need placating. God loves us. This is why he sends his Son. This is why he sends his Spirit and draws us. And it just enables us to appreciate more the love and grace of God. And to sort to take some of the pressure [as if we] have to earn stuff with God.
But it doesn’t change the objective fact that it is still the Father through the Son in the Spirit….that’s the only way that they are able to engage with God in any sense at all, even if they can’t think of it straight.