A Brief History of Trinitarian Thought

Christ the Center welcomes Dr. Carl Trueman, vice president for academic affairs and professor of historical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and author of several books including The Claims for Truth: The Trinitarian Theology of John Owen, John Owen: Reformed Catholic and Renaissance Man, Luther’s Legacy, Protestant Scholasticism, The Wages of Spin, and Minority Report, for a discussion of the history of Trinitarian theology and the theology of John Owen. Among the many aspects of Trinitarian theology discussed were the Nicene Creed and the Chalcedonian formula. Particular individuals who come in for comment, in addition to John Owen, include the Cappadocian Fathers (Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory Nazianzus, and Basil the Great), Athanasius, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Jonathan Edwards, Karl Barth, and Cornelius Van Til.

Trueman specifically highlights the contribution of Owen to Trinitarian theology and practice with his emphasis on the believer’s communion with each person of the Godhead and Owen’s understanding of the Holy Spirit as the bond of communion and communication between the divine and human natures of the one person of Jesus Christ. Listeners will go away from this episode with a renewed appreciation for the importance of understanding the God of Scripture as Triune.


  • Carl Trueman
  • Nick Batzig
  • Jeff Waddington
  • Camden Bucey


Augustine. On the Trinity. Cambridge UK ;;New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

—. Tractates on the Gospel of John. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1988.

Ayres, Lewis. Nicaea and Its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Edwards, Jonathan, and Sang Hyun Lee, ed. The Works of Jonathan Edwards. Vol. 21, Writings on the Trinity, Grace and Faith. New Haven, Conn.; London: Yale University Press, 2003.

Gibbon, Edward, and D. M. Low. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1960.

Hanson, R. P. C. The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318381. Baker Academic, 2006.

Letham, Robert. The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology And Worship. P & R Publishing, 2005.

Owen, John. Communion with God. Edinburgh; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1991.

—. Epistle to the Hebrews. Banner of Truth, 1996.

—. Of communion with God the Father, Sonne, and Holy Ghost, each person distinctly in love, grace, and consolation, or, The saints fellowship with the Father, Sonne, and Holy Ghost, unfolded. Oxford: Printed by A. Lichfield … for Tho. Robinson, 1657.

Owen, John, and W. H. Goold, ed. The Works of John Owen. London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1965.

Owen, John, R. J. K. Law, and London. Banner of Truth Trust. The Spirit and the Church. Puritan paperbacks. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2002.

Trueman, Carl R. John Owen. Ashgate, 2007.

—. Luther’s Legacy: Salvation and English Reformers, 1525–1556. Oxford [England]; New York: Clarendon Press ; Oxford University Press, 1994.

—. Minority Report: Unpopular Thoughts on Everything From Ancient Christianity to Zen-Calvinism. Fearn Ross-shire Scotland: Mentor, 2008.

—. The Claims of Truth : John Owen’s Trinitarian Theology. Carlisle, Cumbria: Paternoster Press, 1998.

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Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program and learn how to subscribe.

18 Responses

  1. Jeff,

    Lane Tipton was scheduled to join us but got really sick that day and couldn’t make it. That’s why Trueman threw out his “challenge.” We’ll schedule him at some point.

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  3. Pingback : Interview with Carl Trueman « Reformation Faith Today

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  5. Enjoyed the session with Dr. Trueman. Enjoyed the brotherly banter and all.

    Dr. Trueman referenced a quote by Richard Baxter that one should not enter the pulpit without saying at least one unintelligible thing to the congregation (very roughly paraphrased).

    Does anyone know the source of that quote? Would appreciate the help.


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  7. Orieffilt

    This looks cool so far, what’s up people?
    If it’s not just all bots here, let me know. I’m looking to network
    Oh, and yes I’m a real person LOL.


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