Fred Sanders, The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010. 258pp. $18.99
God is a triune God through the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most important and one of the most confusing doctrines to understand. The problem is some in history have tried to understand God’s triune nature and gotten it wrong while others have tried to understand and just gotten frustrated along the way and ignored it. Through all this, it is important to realize that God is triune and in order to fully understand Him we must understand the Trinity. How we think about the Trinity is important and it matters in how we experience God.
In his book The Deep Things of God, Fred Sanders considers the doctrine of the Trinity and its importance to Christians fully understanding God. Within evangelicalism there has been a move away from the Trinity without even realizing it. Due to the difficulty in the nature of the Trinity many Christians and churches do not emphasize God’s triunity often. Sanders notes that evangelicals have become Christ-centered and focused, which is not a bad thing at all when considering the Christian life and thought, but the problem has become that with this they have become Father-forgetful and Spirit-ignoring (Loc. 2913). Sanders walks the reader through the process of seeing the Trinity as a whole (Father, Son and Spirit); walks through the triune nature of salvation and how the gospel is shaped by the Trinity; walks through Christ and the Trinity; and walks the reader through Scripture and the Trinity as well as personal prayer as triune.
While evangelicals have become less focused on the Trinity, God’s triune nature is still real and has encountered every person that has encountered Him. Sanders correctly says, “Anybody who has encountered God in Christ through the Holy Spirit has come to know the Trinity. But not everybody in this position knows that they know the Trinity (Loc. 759). While evangelical churches have become focused on gospel-centeredness, through this there should come an emphasis of the Trinity to the church body. God has revealed Himself to us as Father in the Son through the Spirit and through the good news of the gospel, humanity has the ability to share in this triune fellowship (Loc. 1049).
Christians must spend time understanding the triune nature of God through the Father, Son and Spirit, and in this churches must be Trinity-focused in their preaching, ministries and all areas of the church. You cannot understand God without understanding the Trinity. There is no way around this. When Christians come to recognize and ponder the doctrine of the Trinity and rejoice in who God truly is they are able to come “face-to-face with the final foundation of all God’s ways and works (Loc. 1114). Sanders in this study of the Trinity throughout shows that with this greater understanding of God comes a greater understanding for His word and the way we read Scripture as it enables all Christians to see His words in a new way. (Loc. 2298)
The Trinity matters and is a vastly important doctrine. Sanders has helped to show throughout The Deep Things of God the richness of the Trinity and has encouraged the hopeful shift in evangelicalism back towards a better understanding of the Triune God. I would recommend The Deep Things of God to anyone desiring to know God more intimately and for someone that doesn’t have a deep understanding of the Trinity. This is a great book for a small group or bible study to study together to unpack the deep and wonderful magnitude that is the Trinity.
This is an honest review written in exchange of a review copy of The Deep Things of God from Crossway publications.