There are various churches and theologians today who want to rebuild the Christian Church by starting with the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth (i.e. Elizabeth Johnson at Fordham University). Such efforts are in vain. The Holy Trinity is really the key foundational mystery of the Christian Church. To start with the person of Jesus of Nazareth, and the little we truly know of him, would disregard the Church that was built upon his name and undermine all that he gave to the world through the gift of the Holy Spirit in the centuries that followed.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus said, “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you” (John 14:25-26).
In the next few blog posts we will continue to elaborate on the Holy Trinity. Today we will affirm the unity between the Greek Fathers and the Latin Fathers of the early Church.
The mystery of the Holy Trinity is shared between both the Orthodox and Latin Church. The Greek Fathers utilized the word “hypostasis” instead of persons to refer to the three persons of the Holy Trinity. The inherent meaning is the same between both Churches. The Greek profess a trinity of persons, a unity of nature and among the persons a real relation which proceeds from their origin. (There will be more on what this really means in later posts.)
As the Catholic Church moves into more ecumenical relationships amongst other Christian communities, it is important to have an accurate understanding of the Holy Trinity. The intentions of the early Church Fathers and their understanding of the Godhead were the same. Recognizing and respecting the dogma of the Church beginning with the third century is important because that is when the foundation for the canon of all sacred scripture was established, as well as the most important dogmas of the Church.
The Holy Trinity along with the early creeds are the foundation of the Christian Church because they are based on the divinity of Jesus Christ. It would be wrong to try to rebuild a Church based on the humanity of the man Jesus of Nazareth.