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Theology Matters: The Trinity

A.W. Tozer wrote:

‘What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.’

It was with this in mind that we decided to spend a day recently thinking about the Trinity.

To many Christians, the doctrine of the Trinity is a strange and confusing mystery, too difficult to bother trying to get our heads round. To others it feels like an abstract idea with no practical relevance. But the Trinity is actually a beautiful, essential, life-giving idea that should cause us to marvel and worship!

If you weren’t able to join us, you can find the recordings and handouts here. They cover a range of questions, like:

  • What does it mean to believe that God is Trinity?
  • Where did the idea come from, and how has the church understood it through history?
  • What are some helpful and unhelpful ways to think about the Trinity?
  • What practical difference does it make to the way we think about ourselves and the world?
  • How does the doctrine of the Trinity affect our knowledge of God and our worship and prayer?

And if you want to read more on the subject, here are the top three books I recommended, ordered from easiest to hardest:

The Good God, by Michael Reeves

This is a short, accessible introduction to the Trinity. It’s packaged in a deceptively light and simple style, but the content is meaty and thought-provoking. A great place to start.

The Deep Things of God, by Fred Sanders

This was probably the book I found most helpful in preparing for Theology Matters. It’s a great mixture of deep theology, great diagrams and explanations, insights from historical theologians, and practical application. I particularly like the way the author has shown how the doctrine of the Trinity intersects with other doctrines and makes sense of evangelical experience.

The Holy Trinity, by Robert Letham

This book is harder work, but very comprehensive, and well worth the effort. It’s particularly helpful for the chapters on the historical development of the doctrine. Letham unpacks the early controversies, the differences between the Eastern and Western traditions, and then profiles some of the modern thinkers.

If you want just one book to really chew over and read slowly, this would be it… though it’s not for the faint hearted.
And I’m going to sneak in a covert fourth recommendation as well… Sanders’ recent book The Triune God is slightly more technical, but brilliant, and explores (among other things) how the Trinity is revealed, and how we can rightly construct Trinitarian doctrine. Derek Rishmawy has written a good review of it here.

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