I have often been one of the inquisitors at the doctrinal councils of younger colleagues. I've had a pounce plan. I lie in wait through the early questions till the doctrine of the Trinity is before us. Then, nonchalantly, I say, "We've talked about the unique roles of the Son and Spirit in the Trinity. How about the Father? What is his unique place?" Then I settle back and smile beneficently while they stub their theological toes in the dark room of the triune God.
But what goes around comes around. I preached through Romans 8 for Lent, a passage saturated with the Trinity. I was expounding on v. 3, "For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering." I said that God the Father watched God the Son die. It didn't feel quite right as I said it, but there was no time there on the platform to sort it out, and I forged ahead. Then, later, one of the theological students in my church ...