Theology Matters: The Trinity

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A.W. Tozer wrote:

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

It’s with this quote in mind that I’m looking forward to teaching a day of seminars on Sat Feb 25 on the theme of 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!

In these interactive seminars, we will try to consider 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?

The day will take place at The Swiss Church, 79 Endell St, WC2H 9DY, from 10.00 – 16.00. Places are free, but limited. Anyone is welcome: you can register online, and we’ll try to make the recordings and handouts available afterwards as well.

But should you want to swot up in advance, I’d recommend listening to my talk from last Sunday as a simple-ish introduction. It’s based on John 17 – Jesus’ prayer for the unity of the church, modelled on the unity of the godhead.

And here are the top three books I’d recommend on the Trinity, 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.

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.

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.

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