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The fourth-century battle over the interpretation of a single developed trinitarian theology laid the groundwork for numerous binary trajectories, with some resulting in Christian imperialism. Western Christianity's early preoccupation with divine ontology, coupled with the military might of the Christian empire and the West's inability to hold the mystery of God in tension, has beleaguered Christians and other monotheists for centuries. An Indigenous understanding of the divine shalom community may offer different choices that are perhaps closer to the constructed understandings of Trinity held by early followers of the Christ. In their various perceptions, early Jewish Christians recognized and acknowledged a place in their worldview for a trinitarian construct without the trappings of extrinsic categorization or the burden of ontological fixation. If we must talk of God in ontological terms, which again is beyond any of our comprehension, then perhaps the image of the community of the Creator, existing eternally in shalom relationality, can lead us beyond much of the former dialogue that has centered itself on ontological substance, and toward a better understanding of our own communal ontology.


Originally published as chapter two of The Trinity among the Nations, The Doctrine of God in the Majority World

Edited by Gene L. Green, Stephen T. Pardue, and K.K. Yeo.

William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2015.