The Scriptorium

Trinitarian and Orthodox

Patrick's Confession (3)

 

Because there is no other God, nor has there been, nor will there be in the future, other than God the Father, begotten without beginning, from Whom all things begin, Who governs all things as we have been taught; and His Son Jesus Christ. Whom we testify to have been manifestly with the Father always, to have been spiritually with the Father since before the beginning of time, to have been born of the Father before the beginning in a way that cannot be described. and by Him were made things visible and invisible. He was made man. Having vanquished death He was taken back into heaven to the Father, Who gave Him full power to govern all things in heaven and earth and hell, so that every tongue should confess to Him that Jesus Christ is Lord and God. We believe in Him and expect His coming in the near future as Judge of the living and the dead, Who will make return to all according to what they have done. He poured out abundantly on us the Holy Spirit, the gift and pledge of immortality, Who makes of obedient believers sons of God and co-heirs of Christ. We confess and adore Him as one God in the Trinity of His Holy Name.

It's not difficult to see that, as far as his fundamental theology is concerned, Patrick was trinitarian and orthodox to the core. I think Patrick uses the word, "begotten," with reference to the Father more in the sense of "existing" than in the way we think of that word as traditionally associated with the Son. God is one and sovereign, "as we have been taught." Patrick was not self-taught; however, it is not clear where he received the specialized training that prepared him to become, first, a deacon, then, a priest.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, begotten beyond and before time "in a way that cannot be described." Patrick was not unwilling for his theology to contain a healthy measure of mystery. He was no scholastic theologian. As we shall see, Patrick leaned on the plain teaching of Scripture in the nurture and practice of his faith. His theology of Christ is that He is both Savior and Lord. Having completed His atoning work, Christ ascended to heaven and now rules all things, moving men everywhere to confess Him as Lord and God.

The Holy Spirit is the vivifying and enabling force of the Triune God, a gift of Christ to the Church to make "obedient believers" of His people against the day of His soon return. Note that one cannot be an obedient believer without also being formed by the Spirit into a true son of God and co-heir of Christ. The Spirit works in us to enable us to work out our salvation in fear and trembling.

Patrick preached the Good News of eternal life against the backdrop of the triune God and the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. He called men to repent - since they would be judged by their works - and to believe in Jesus, confessing Him as Lord and adoring God Who thus redeems those who believe.

This was Patrick's basic message, which he sets forth here at the beginning of his defense. We can see that it is Biblical and orthodox. And we reflect on the power of this message as we consider the fruit of it from Patrick's ministry.

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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