The best part of the opinion is that it identifies the importance of naming. Though God has self-identified in multiple ways through the Scriptures and history, there’s no doubt the formula of “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” is the most dominant.
But let’s not obscure the argument by getting carried away with the desire to bury the modern alternates.
CT’s anonymous editor is right in saying that one can find instances of creating, redeeming, and sanctifying in all three persons of the Trinity. It might be said that perhaps those functions are identified with the Persons “consistently and starkly.”
From the CT editorial:
Almost all the recent alternatives to the Trinitarian formula undercut the personal significance of God’s name by replacing it with words of function. As many have noted, “Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier” encourages modalism, the heretical teaching that God’s threeness is more about his modes of operation, or our perception of him, rather than something intrinsic to the divine essence.
I have to point out that despite the divine naming of “Father” and “Son,” these are functions also. An even stronger point against the waving of the heresy banner is the context in which CRS is used, a clear substitution for a baptismal or blessing formula with virtually none of the context changed. If CRS is switching language, then it’s no different from a translation from the Great Commission’s biblical Greek or even Jesus’ original language.
If feminists were to begin a theological examination that departed from the Christian understanding of God, then we could say there’s more than a change in language. Then “Creator” would be more than feminish for “Father.”
Consider that “Father” is a bit expansive in the Roman tradition, as we’ll sing this Sunday:
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from Thy celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come Father of the poor!
Come source of all our store!
Come within our bosoms shine!
Carte blanche to change to any old “language” whenever the Spirit moves us? No. But I’d be cautious about waving that heresy banner too much. In effect, “heresy” just gets redefined as “religious stuff I don’t like.” We don’t want to go there either.
More from CT:
To create an alternative according to our cultural sensibilities is at best parody and at worst idolatry, even if it is constructed from the good metaphors God has given us. Most idols, after all, are created from God’s good gifts.
Let’s not overstate the case. At best, it’s an effort to make the limitations of language work in the face of the perception of institutional sin. It might be misguided, but I can appreciate the attempt. Charity would demand Christians temper needed correction with an appropriate dose of appreciation.