Delighting in the Trinity
Good, but Not Without Its Problems
Delighting in the Trinity is an introductory text written with the intention to make anyone at any stage of their spiritual development see just how important the Trinity is and how it stands at the center of all things Christian. The book is divided into three sections in which Chester highlights the doctrineÃ¢ÂÂs biblical foundation, historical development, and practical application. ItÃ¢ÂÂs a solid format that balances right belief with right practice when many authors prefer to favor one over the other. This book is clearly written, generally well argued, and very approachable (which is to say that the uninitiated could read it with great comprehension).
Chester gets plenty right, like when he says, says, Ã¢ÂÂWe cannot talk about belief in God without asking which Ã¢ÂÂGodÃ¢ÂÂ we believe in. So many of the people who claim to believe in Ã¢ÂÂGodÃ¢ÂÂ do not believe in GodÃ¢ÂÂnot the God who truly exists and has truly revealed himself in Jesus ChristÃ¢ÂÂ (17-18), as well as his seeing the Trinity at the heart of all things Christian (e.g., the Gospel, evangelism, missions, salvation, worship, etc.). But he fumbles at a few points, like his overemphasis on the cross and the claim that the Trinity is best understood in the Father forsaking the Son because forsaking reveals personal relationship.
Plenty of things reveal the personal relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit, e.g., Jesus baptism where the Father speaks approvingly of his Son who has just been anointed with the Spirit. Or think to the Prologue of JohnÃ¢ÂÂs Gospel where he tells us that the Word was WITH God in the beginning (John 1:1-2) and that this very same Word became incarnate and we beheld his glory as of the only begotten of the Father (John 1:14). This is relational language! All in all I think that Chester has good intentions but misses the mark at certain points.
September 7, 2012
A Good Introduction
IÃ¢ÂÂve found one of the biggest challenges in communicating the truth of the Christian faith to others, especially unbelievers, is adequately and clearly explaining the triune nature of God. It certainly does spark some excellent questions and makes for great conversation, but it can be quite difficult to simply explain such a paradoxical doctrine.
One note of encouragement, in this regard, is the growing number of resources available on the doctrine of the Trinity and the implications of this doctrine in the life of the Christian and the church. Dr. Tim Chester (PhD Ã¢ÂÂ University of Wales), pastor of The Crowded House in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, and director of the Porterbrook Seminary, has added a notable resource to the mix in his book, Delighting in the Trinity: Why Father, Son and Spirit are Good News (Good Book Company, 2010). If youÃ¢ÂÂre at all familiar with ChesterÃ¢ÂÂs work, youÃ¢ÂÂll know that his gift of writing is a welcomed mix of clarity, depth, and intense practicality. It is no different in this volume.
Divided into 3 parts, Chester looks at the doctrine of the Trinity by beginning with the doctrineÃ¢ÂÂs biblical foundation. Chester provides a good overview of the Scriptural basis for the doctrine, incorporating both Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and New Testament texts, also noting their interrelation, to assist the reader in drawing the doctrine from the pages of GodÃ¢ÂÂs Word.
Part 2 is focused on the development of the doctrine from the 2nd through the 20th centuries AD. By providing this historical context and overview, Chester serves his readers well in understanding the historical nature of the Christian faith and the lives of those who have wrestled with the doctrine in days past. Gaining familiarity in this area also allows the reader to be aware of heretical and heterodoxical understandings of the doctrine so as to more fully understand and defend the orthodox position on the doctrine.
Part 3 gives the reader ample material to answer the Ã¢ÂÂso what?Ã¢ÂÂ question in terms of the doctrine of the Trinity. Chester focuses on 4 primary areas of practicality: The Trinity and revelation, salvation, humanity, and mission. In so doing, Chester not only provides the reader with ample evidence as to the essential nature of this doctrine in Christian faith and practice, but also provides a model to other pastors as to how they may begin to practically incorporate doctrinal essentials in immensely practical ways within their preaching/teaching ministry.
In sum, Delighting in the Trinity is vintage Chester: clear, accessible, practical, and pastoral. As always, Chester demonstrates his deep desire to communicate the good news of the gospel, and here with a specific focus on the Trinitarian nature of the gospel and the whole of the Christian life. You will be encouraged and edified as the colors of the Christian life shine with increasing brilliance as you grow in your understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. I recommend it!
*As a part of the Delighting in the Trinity Blog Tour, the publisher, at no charge, for the purpose of review, provided a copy of this eBook. I was under no obligation to write a favorable review.
September 7, 2012
Great User-Friendly book on The Trinity
The Trinity is a doctrine in the Christian faith that has been debated for centuries. It has even caused divisions among Christians. Some have said that God is not one in three persons, but God has revealed Himself in three ways. I believe it was Augustine who said, "If you try to explain the Trinity, you will confuse yourself. If you do not believe in the Trinity, you lose yourself."
Many religions in the world cannot understand the doctrine of the Trinity. This is where Tim Chester tells the story of how his book, Delighting in the Trinity, came to be. Chester was talking with some of his Muslim friends and discussed their many questions on the Trinity. Chester confessed that he was embarrassed by the doctrine on how can Almighty God be a Triune God. Later he realized that God revealing Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is good news.
After the first chapter, the rest of the book is divided into three parts. The first part deals with the Biblical foundations of the Trinity. This part talked about the unity of God along his plurality and, finally, His plurality and unity. The second part deals with the historical foundations of the Trinity dating back all the way to second century to the 20th century. The last part deals with the practical foundations of the Trinity. This part was written in four parts dealing with how the Trinity is related to revelation, salvation, humanity, and missions.
This book was written in such a user-friendly format that even a lost person who has no idea of what the Trinity is can understand it. I enjoyed reading this book and drove me to worship because of how great our Triune God is. I know I use this book as a resource for when I am writing and/or teaching on the Trinity.
September 4, 2012
Faithful, biblical, accessible.
Delighting In The Trinity, by Tim Chester, is a very good book. The title made me break my book reviewing moratorium, and it mostly lived up to what I expected.
That being said, first of all I shall look at the good. The good is that the book gives a very good, though relatively concise overview of the doctrine of the Trinity. Chester surveys the biblical doctrine of the Trinity as well as the history of the doctrine. In doing so, I believe that he has been faithful in every respect. He is true to the Scriptures, and he is true to history.
Another way in which he is faithful is that he is true to the reader. Chester does not write for the academy, but for the average Joe. The book is accessible to anyone, especially those with no theological education. Though that is so, Chester has written the book well. It is both scholarly and accessible.
The book covers the doctrine of the Scripture quite well in that it presents God not only as one, but as three. Chester explains that God is neither monistic, nor tritheistic. He explains that Trinitarian theology speaks of God as one God in three persons. I believe that this is true, and appreciate ChesterÃ¢ÂÂs manner in explaining it.
I became very concerned later in the book as Chester began to speak about the atonement. My thought was that he had branched out too far, and would be getting in over his head. A few pages later, after seeing how he tied Trinitarian truth to the atonement, my reaction was one of pleasant amazement that he had tied it all together so easily and did such a good job of it.
The only thing that I can say that, to me, was a negative about the book is the fact that the title of the book presents us the idea that we are going to be directed to delight in the Trinity. I believe that the theme permeates the book, but I think that it should have stood out a bit more apparently than it does. Not only do we need our theology of God to be correct, but we need a correct doxology. A chapter about applying this to our lives in the matter of our thought life and our worship as matters of delighting in the LORD would have been very helpful. This small complaint of mine, however, cannot diminish the worth of this book to GodÃ¢ÂÂs people.
All in all, this book remains worthy of four out of five stars. It is a book that I wish I would be able to convince all of the members of my flock to read.
This book was provided for review by the publisher, but there was no expectation of a positive review.
September 3, 2012