Review: Delighting in the Trinity

Michael Reeves, IVP, 2012, 135 pages

trinityDelighting in the Trinity gives an introduction to the Christian faith through the lens of the triune God. Michael Reeves draws heavily from church history—with generous quotes from the Puritans, Jonathan Edwards, Luther, and Calvin. To show the importance of the Trinity, he quotes the Athanasian Creed that says whoever does not hold to the Trinity will “perish everlastingly”. Imagine that being said from the pulpit today.

Reeves is cheeky and witty but not so as to forget the Scriptures. The Christian life could not exist without the triune God, he says, and then gives some examples. Only the triune God (as opposed to Allah) can inherently love, for apart from the Godhead there would be no one for God to love (Jn. 17:24) before the world began. Only the triune God can atone for sinners, for if there were no sinless Son sinners would have to atone for themselves.

The last two chapters were a bit disjointed but this short book succeeded in proving its thesis: “the triune being of God is the vital oxygen of Christian life and joy.” (18)

Excerpts:

  1. The Trinity is not a problem. In looking at the Trinity we are not walking off the map into dangerous and unchartable areas of pointless speculation. Pressing into the Trinity we are doing what in Psalm 27 David said he could do all the days of his life: we are gazing upon the beauty of the Lord. (12)
  2. The Lord God in Isaiah 42 is not a single-person God, desperately hugging himself and refusing to share as he whines: I will not give my glory to another.” Far from hoarding his glory, the Father gives it, freely and fully, to his Son. It is simply that he will give it to no other than his Son. (70)
  3. The Qur’an is a perfect example of a solitary God’s word. Allah is a single-person God who has an eternal word beside him in heaven, the Qur’an. Thus when Allah gives us his Qur’an, he gives us some thing, a deposit of information about himself and how he likes things. However, when the triune God gives us his Word, he gives us his very self, for the Son is the Word of God. (80)
  4. John Owen [was said to have had] as much powder in his hair as would discharge eight cannons. (97)
  5. We cannot choose what we love, but always love what seems desirable to us. Thus we will only change what we love when something proves itself to be more desirable to us than what we already love. I will, then, always love sin and the world until I truly sense that Christ is better. (101)
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