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5 Stars Out Of 5
July 12, 2014
Based on my experiences with traveling overseas and the many religious discussions that occurred with Muslims and Buddhists, I have come to realize that the status of Jesus and the concept of the Trinity are the two foremost hurdles that distinguish Christianity and all other religions. So I was excited to see what additional wisdom Sproul provided on the topic of the Trinity.
The book consists of five fundamentals: Monotheism, Biblical Witness, Controversies of the Early Church, One essence and three persons, and Objections to the Trinitarian doctrine. He begins the book with an essential discussion of monotheism. From the very first sentence noted in the book of Genesis, the notion that there exists only one God who created the world and actively rules it is fundamental to biblical thought. Although the doctrine of the Trinity is not obviously taught in the Old Testament, he expertly reveals the progression of the Trinity from the Old Testament to the New Testament. He utilizes several scripture passages that point to the full disclosure of the Trinity in the New Testament: John 1:1; 1 Corinthians 8; 2 Corinthians 13; 2 Thessalonians 2; and 1 Peter 1. Clearly there is a distinction between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit but all hold the essence and being of God, thus creating the origin of the Trinity.
Sproul spends a significant amount of time intensely describing the difference between "essence" and "person". God is one in essence yet reveals himself in three persons as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I found that this would be extremely helpful for non-believers and new believers in grasping the honest reality of the Trinity.
Sproul seeks to address the controversies from church history and refuting the many objections to the Trinitarian doctrine in the remaining pages. He, as in previous books with this series, touches on historical events to support his claim. Describing the disputes from the 4th, 5th, 19th, and 20th centuries, he clearly recounts the errors that led the church to develop a firm doctrinal stance on the Trinity. More specifically, he examines Modalism, Adoptionism, Monophysitism, and Nestorianism. These heresies made it critical for the church to defend the integrity of the Trinity.
He does mention that he personally has an issue with the language as follows: "Jesus is fullyGod and fully man." Sproul sees this as illogicality. To my upbringing, this phrase is well-known. I do believe this becomes slightly nit-picky as the expression seems to assist in simplifying the understanding of the Trinity.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher as part of their review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Crucial Questions # 10 "What is the Trinity?" By Dr. R.C. Sproul
This is now the second "Crucial Questions" booklet I have had the pleasure of reviewing. The first one I reviewed was on the subject of "Baptism".
I found this booklet on the "Trinity" really quite enjoyable to read. For the most part the booklet is easy to understand although there were a few sections that dealt with philosophy that were a bit difficult to follow and some may find these sections hard to understand but I think over all anyone reading the booklet will be helped.
I found that this booklet was unlike other books I've read on the subject. Most of the books I've read deal mainly with the text of scripture but this one while having a section on the biblical text dealt mostly with Church history (councils) as well as philosophy and word studies (understanding the meaning of different words used to describe Christ's nature or the Trinity).
In chapter one the author discusses some objections to the Trinity which he revisits in the last chapter. I found Dr. Sproul's response to the objection that Christianity is based on a contradiction because we believe in the Trinity to be excellent. He says on page 2:
"Apparently this professor of philosophy was not familiar with the law of non-contradiction. That law states, 'A cannot be A and non-A at the same time and in the same relationship.' When we confess our faith in the Trinity, we affirm that God is one in essence and three in person. Thus, God is one in A and three in B. If we said that He is one in essence and three in essence, that would be a contradiction. If we said He is one in person and three in person, that also would be a contradiction. But as mysterious as the Trinity is, perhaps even above and beyond our capacity to understand it in its fullness, the historic formula is not a contradiction."
An excellent response in my opinion.
There is also an overview of what some people see as an evolution of religion and how monotheism is just one step in that evolution. Christians deny this evolutionary thought and Dr. Sproul brings that out.
There was one statement in the booklet that did puzzle me a bit but because it really wasn't related to the Trinity It didn't bother me. He says on page 59:
"... much of the New Testament was written in the Greek language."
I wasn't sure if he meant that the New Testament writers sometimes use transliterated Aramaic words (Transliterated into Greek) or something else but as I said it doesn't have much at all to do with the subject.
So in the end I found this booklet by Dr. R.C. Sproul on the Trinity to be enjoyable to read and very informative. I think anyone looking for a brief overview of the doctrine of the Trinity would do well to pick this up.
Disclosure of Material: I received this book free from Reformed Trust Publishing's book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's CFR Title 16, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."