This post generated some interest two and a half years ago. I even received a request for permission to translate it into Romanian (though I never heard anything more about it). I welcome critique, suggestions, discussion.
“For the Christian faith,” Fr John Behr declares, “there is, unequivocally, but one God, and that is the Father” (Nicene Faith, II:307). Western Christians, whether Catholic or Protestant, hear this declaration and wince. It just does not accord with their understanding of the Holy Trinity. The Eastern construal of the monarchy of the Father seems like a relic of a bygone era that has now been transcended by superior models of divine triunity (see, e.g., “Beyond 4th-century Trinitarianism” by Michael Liccione). Not only are there the classical formulations of St Augustine of Hippo and St Thomas Aquinas; but in the last century we have witnessed a renaissance in trinitarian reflection—Karl Barth, Karl Rahner, Jurgen Moltmann, Catherine LaCugna, Wolfhart Pannenbert, Robert W. Jenson, Colin Gunton. None of them speak of the divine monarchy as Orthodoxy does, yet Eastern theologians remain insistent: the Father is the one God.
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