Living from Doxology

Catherine Mowry LaCugna’s “God For Us” is a difficult but finally rewarding read. She gives the history of how the church dreamed up this doctrine of the Trinity, but she works with all her polemic might to ensure we don’t walk away thinking the doctrine of God is just for academics and theology geeks. In the end, she makes a compelling case for how God’s people can live from a revolutionary sense and practice of thankfulness—which to me is the strongest of many practical implications from the book. She successfully links theology with daily life, but her argument wends its way through the decisions of the early church fathers in response to early heretics, steps through Latin and Greek and dozens of terms that remain largely unexplained until chapters later—all the while tracing out how thinkers and writers have responded to whether the study of God is some head game or whether it has everything to do with daily life.

The book is technical, not that well organized and just a plain old tough slog. Until the final chapters, that is. There Lacugna opens up the doors and reveals why we slogged so hard: it’s because there is a way of life that erupts as a response to the community and communication that is God. Her main point is that the triune nature of God invites us to be partakers with God in this ongoing work He has planned and is executing. As we believe in Jesus the Christ and invite God’s Spirit to breathe a fresh into our lives, righteousness becomes a response rather than an unbearable duty.

LaCugna’s book satisfies something deep that has to do with living with a heightened sense of God’s presence. Her book has been a tool allowing me to think more clearly about the nature of God and to see how it relates to today.


3 responses to “Living from Doxology

  1. My thoughts
    “the history of how the church dreamed up this doctrine of the Trinity”. The trinity doctrine is foundational and is good doctrine not a dream.

    “righteousness becomes a response rather than an unbearable duty.” Our righteousness as Christians is an undeserved gift from God made available threw his son’s death on the cross for our sin. Outside of God we are sinners, enemies of God nothing I do can come close to making me righteous or even good. This is why we need a savior

  2. Q: Good points. No, the trinity is not dreamed up, it’s all in the biblical text. It just takes a fair amount of thinking and piecing together the pieces to understand how it all works. Or at least to begin to understand how it all works. It is excellent doctrine, but there is an incredibly deep and rich history behind the whole thing that I had no idea was there. LaCugna points that out.

  3. Q: As to your second point: again, agreement. There’s no question that righteousness is a gift from God, entirely undeserved. There’s nothing I can do to earn it (Romans 5 has been reminding m of this all week). But that doesn’t mean that even people who know this don’t fall back into old habits of trying to live from that old work-for-it standpoint. That was my point: that as people who have been changed, we need to keep looking back to the One who changed us. Too often I look the wrong way.

    Thanks for your comments.

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