What theological questions led to the formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity in the early church? Are they still important to theology today?
If the development of the doctrine of the Trinity is to be understood correctly, it must be placed against its proper background of early Christian belief, practice and spirituality. Early Christianity was a reforming movement which changed peoples’ lives: the wicked were invited to repent and reform themselves in response to the renewal of the covenant between God and Israel, now expanded, said the Christians, to include the Gentiles as well as the Jews. The general nature of repentance and reform meant adopting a lifestyle of purity, self-control, and good works. The specific nature of repentance and reform meant following the teaching of Jesus and imitating the example of his life. Jesus had emptied himself out, taken the form of a slave, and given himself over to others; so Christians must now empty themselves of all