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Empirical-Theological Models of the Trinity: Exploring the Beliefs of Theology Students in the United Kingdom

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This study is the first of its kind aimed at exploring attitudes towards Trinitarian theological constructs by means of quantitative empirical method. The sample of theology students from the United Kingdom (N = 244) was drawn from 11 institutions representing Adventist, Ecumenical, Evangelical and Pentecostal educational contexts training students for Christian ministry. From a principle components analysis scales were developed to measure five empirical-theological models: orthodox-exclusivist, pneumatic-social, modalist, subordinationist and transgender. Attitudes to these empirical-theological models were then analysed in relation to background variables, educational contexts and Trinitarian theology. The findings show that the background variables and educational contexts are significantly associated with theological attitudes, and that there are important relations and distinctions between the different empirical-theological models and other related Trinitarian concepts. The implications of these findings are also noted in relation to the practice of preaching the doctrine of the Trinity.


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