Book Review: Delighting in the Trinity
The gist of Delighting in the Trinity is found amongst the opening words of the book. "God is love because God is a Trinity." We are overly familiar with the term, "God is love," because of the saturation of liberal thinking in western evangelicalism. We have reduced God to His love so that He can do nothing other than what we define as loving. In a sense, we have been taught to believe in some deity that is not God. With great clarity in his easy to read style and down to earth illustrations, Michael Reeves presents a most compelling case for the necessity of a working understanding of a Trinitarian God in the Christian life.
It is true that the term Trinity in reference to God is not explicitly stated in Scripture, but the idea certainly is. In the creation of the world, all three persons were present. In the creation of new life in the believer, all three persons of the Trinity are present. So present are they that to leave out just one of them in either work is to nullify the possibility of them happening. The doctrine of the Trinity was not something fabricated by man, but simply a term created by scholars and theologians of the early church to better teach and understand what Scripture says. As Reeves points out in the book, it was also language that was needed to combat erroneous teachings about God.
In the doctrine of the Trinity, we find a God that is truly independent, and completely loving. No other religion has a god or goddess that can claim these as true for themselves. Because God is triune, love not only existed between the Godhead, but it could be shared. It is true, as Reeves states, that "God is Trinity" sounds "cold and stodgy" when compared to saying, "God is love," but you cannot have a loving God without a triune God.
What I Liked
Michael Reeves takes the reader on a journey through the Scriptures, pointing out and explaining the interworking parts of the Trinity. But he does not walk alone. Joining him is an array of Reformers and Puritans. By the end of the book, any reader will find that they not only have a better understanding of the Trinity in light of Scripture but also in light of church history.
In the first chapter, Reeves answers the simple but pressing question of what exactly it was that God was doing before He created the world. His answer: love. God the Father was loving Christ the Son. Although, in order for that to be understood, one must first understand the deity of Christ. So great attention is given to that as well. From the onset, we see that the doctrine of the Trinity has major implications for the entire foundation of Christian faith.
Out of this thought comes the second chapter on the creation of the world. Have you ever thought of creation as the outpouring of God's love? When we understand the Trinity, especially the Holy Spirit, we understand that creation is God's love extended beyond the Trinity. He writes, "So next time you look up at the sun, moon and stars and wonder, remember: they are there because God loves, because the Father's love for the Son burst out that it may be enjoyed by many. And they remain there only because God does not stop loving."
It was the chapters both on salvation and the Christian life that I found most helpful and practical. How we think about God determines how we worship Him. If we think of God first and foremost as creator or almighty, we will act in regards to Him as a slave or servant, obeying out of fear. But if we see God as Father, we act out of love, not fearing rejection, for we are His children. We cannot lose that status, and so we come before Him confident that He will not reject us when we confess our sins. God's grace and mercy depend on Him being triune, and so it is made abundantly clear that there can be no gospel if there is no Trinity.
Here is a modern Puritan work. It is big theology packaged in a clear, concise manner, filled with analogies and illustrations to help even the one with a most basic understanding of the Bible. If you have not thought much about the Trinity or its implications, this book will have you soon realizing just how much is missing in your understanding of God. This is a most helpful book not only in understanding the Trinity but the whole of the Christian faith.
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By: Michael Reeves, InterVarsity Press, 2012