Review: The Triune God

29491966Fred Sanders is Professor of Theology in the Torey Honors Institute at Biola University in La Mirada, California. He received an MDiv from Asbury Theological Seminary and a PhD from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Sanders is the author or editor of numerous books, including Advancing Trinitarian Theology: Explorations in Constructive Dogmatics and The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything.Still, Sanders’ most significant contribution to the contemporary conversation regarding Trinitarian theology is undoubtebly his recent volume in the New Studies in Dogmatics series.

The Triune God seeks to secure the reader’s knowledge of the triune God by rightly ordering the theological language more closely to the manner that the Trinity was revealed—a gift of divine revelation before theological achievement of the Christian church. Sanders showcases the heart of the New Studies in Dogmatics series, as he labors to retrieve the riches of classical Christian doctrine regarding the nature of God for the sake of contemporary theological renewal. Sanders is persuasive and articulate, and he does much to offer the readers a demonstration of Trinitarian exegesis that leads doctrinal conviction expressed in worship.

The Triune Godis organized unconventionally, as Sanders acknowledges (p. 19). In the initial chapter, Sanders places the doctrine of the Trinity as “a doxological movement of thought that gives glory to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (p. 20). This directs the reader’s heart and mind towards a necessary attunement to begin the exploration. The following chapters set the doctrine of the Trinity within a biblical theology of mystery, the communicative missions of the Son and Spirit, and then the Scriptural form of that communication is examined from the Incarnation to Pentecost. The remaining chapters explore the implications of God’s redemptive actions in the sending of himself and positions the reader towards a model of Trinitarian exegesis, which is then used to explore the Trinitarian presences in the Old Testament. This structure indicates a crucial order to be observed in the reader’s knowledge of the Trinity: revelation in the missions, attestation in the New Testament, and adumbration in the Old Testament (p. 23).

The strengths of The Triune God are evident as the reader exits the initial chapters. Sanders is a gifted communicator and well-acquainted with conversations new and old about the Trinity. The book is carefully written and wonderfully presented. The structural organization of the book is somewhat odd in comparison to other works on the market of similar scope. But, as the reader discovers the intentionality behind such approach and witnesses impact therein, it is hard to see this as a shortcoming. In fact, accompanied by Sanders’ logical coherence of the subject matter, it is easily one of the book’s biggest strength. Readers will especially appreciate Sanders keen ability to bring the reader back to Scripture while remaining in conversation with Christians from nearly every era of redemptive history. This is definitely an academic engagement on the subject and some readers will do better to explore other options. Nevertheless, this is also one of the best treatments on the Trinity available today.

The Triune God by Fred Sanders is simply excellent. It begins with worship and ends with a deep adoration for God. Sanders is rooted in Scripture and centered on the missional nature of the Son and Spirit. It is clearly written and persuasively presented. If you are looking for a tour de forcejourney into the most important theological conviction of the Christian faith, then The Triune God is an essential read. It comes recommended without hesitation!

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