For the Sake of Character: A Trinitarian Family Ethic

Dr. Michael W. Austin, PhD

This paper explores connections between the parent-child relationship, the Trinity, and character formation in the context of family life.

First, it offers a Trinitarian argument for the existence of parental rights. Then it discusses ways in which the doctrine of the Trinity is relevant to how we understand the family. Next, it argues that a Trinitarian understanding of the family, which includes the claim that the family should reflect several im-portant attributes of the Triune God, underscores the relevance of a variety of character traits including patience, humility, forgiveness, and love.

Austin does not offer a sustained philosophical argument for one conclusion, but rather engage in a philosophically oriented approach to important is-sues related to family life at the theoretical and practical levels. The claim this paper does lend support to, however, is that reflection upon the Trinity and related theological concepts has great potential for articulating and defending a Christian understanding of important issues related to the family in general, and the parent-child relationship in particular.

The full-text of this paper is available for FREE by clicking here. A version of this paper was presented as a plenary address at the annual national meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society in Atlanta, November 18, 2015.

This paper is also part of the ongoing EPS web project, “Philosophical Discussions on Marriage and Family.”