Ever since Sabellius and Arius, the triune nature of God has been under attack. The erroneous doctrines that these men invented dating back to the third century continue to be repeated in various forms. And they are strongly promoted by organizations like the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Most of the people who reject the triune nature of God do so because they’ve been fed false descriptions or silly illustrations of it by uninformed Christians and Sunday school teachers. Either that, or they’ve been handed incorrect information about it’s development, thinking that it’s some soert of new doctrine that was forced upon the church. This also is not the case.
I’ve been very clear in my affirmation of the Godhead, along with C.S. Lewis and every other orthodox Christian theologian and scholar. And I’ve read every argument against it, finding them all unconvincing.
For the small number of people who have been sold on the idea that God is not triune, I suggest they begin with The Forgotten Trinity by James White and go on to the other books listed below. These books successfully shred the notion that the triune God is a “pagan” idea.
The teaching that the triune nature of God is pagan is a myth based on a distorted version of history. This myth comes from the same people who teach that Jesus’ virgin birth, His deity, and His resurrection are also myths based on the pagan mystery religions of the past. It’s essential that we accurately distinguish what comes from Greco-Roman paganism and what comes from Jesus and the apostles. Some confuse the two, unfortunately.
Yes, the word “Trinity” isn’t in the Bible. So what? The triune nature of God and the Divinity and unity of Father, Son, and Spirit are well attested in Scripture. The word “Bible” isn’t in the Bible either. Neither is “canon.” Neither is “mission.” And neither is “organic church,” though the best theologians agree that the New Testament presents the ekklesia as a living organism.
The triune nature of God is foundational to my theology and ecclesiology.
In Reimagining Church, I ground the church, its functioning and expression, as well as its leadership, decision-making, fellowship and nature, straight back into the Godhead. Chapter 1, which you can read online, goes into this a bit.
In From Eternity to Here, I explain why the eternal love relationship within the Godhead is the centerpiece of God’s eternal purpose. His desire from before time was to expand the Divine dance of mutual love-outpouring, fellowship, and life-exchange within the Trinitarian Community.
In Finding Organic Church, I ground the Christian life, the church, and church planting in the eternal fellowship of Father, Son, and Spirit.
In these three books, I argue that the triune nature of God is not only highly significant, but it’s deeply practical where we Christians are concerned.
In short, if God is not triune, the Christian life is unintelligible.
If God is not triune, then how can He be love? For before creation, there would be no one for Him to love. (I’ve developed this argument elsewhere.)
Some of the best books articulating the above points in an understandable way are:
Heavier theological works on the subject are listed in the Notes for Chapter 1 of Reimagining Church.
We can add to the above list a new book called The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything by Fred Sanders.
This is an outstanding work. It’s readable, yet it contains some high-voltage theology. Sanders shows why the triune nature of God is essential to our Christian life and integral to our salvation. “Christian salvation comes from the Trinity, happens through the Trinity, and brings us home to the Trinity” (p. 10).
Sanders intelligently uses Scripture to make his case. But he also supports his points with examples from John Wesley, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, John Newton, J.C. Ryle to Leslie Newbigin, Karl Rahner, Francis Schaeffer, Karl Barth, C.S. Lewis, Nicky Cruz and J.I. Packer. He appropriately quotes Chesterton, Faber, and others.
Here’s one from Gerald Bray, “Christians have been admitted into the inner life of God.”
Beautiful and true.
But what impressed me the most is that he draws from a host of choice vessels of God that are rarely mentioned in today’s books: H.C.G. Moule, F.B. Meyer, A.B. Simpson, Henry Scougal, Andrew Murray, G. Campbell Morgan, T.F. Torrance, and A.W. Tozer.
All were giants in the land.
Here’s a stellar quote from H.C.G. Moule from the book, “Nothing shines more radiantly in the New Testament than the eternal love of the Father for the Son.”
I was also impressed that Sanders seems to understand that the soul of humans is comprised of mind, will, and emotion (he uses the terms head, hand, and heart). Few Christians today seem to grasp this and incorrectly equate soul with spirit.
All in all, this is an excellent book on the Triune nature of God, showing us how the Godhead is profoundly involved in our salvation and Christian life.
Check out the book on Amazon for endorsements, reviews, and descriptions.
The Deep Things of God is another welcomed addition to the growing catalog of books articulating and defending the corporate nature of God as He is envisioned in Scripture.