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The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything Paperback – August 4, 2010
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“At last, a practical guide to the most fundamental doctrine of them all. Mr Sanders shows us how the Trinity is the essential framework on which our faith is built, the hidden skeleton that gives shape and meaning to the flesh and blood of daily experience. Highly commended!”
—Gerald Bray, Research Professor of Divinity, History, and Doctrine, Beeson Divinity School; author, God Is Love and God Has Spoken
“Sanders has a gift for making the deep things of theology—in this case, the doctrine of the Trinity—clear and compelling rather than shallow and simplistic. This is as good an introduction to the essentially Trinitarian shape of evangelical faith and practice of which I’m aware. Every evangelical should be able to explain how the gospel is Trinitarian and the Trinity a summation of the gospel, and Sanders shows us how. He makes a convincing case that there is nothing wrong with the evangelical church in North American that a good dose of Trinitarian theology, if absorbed into the bloodstream of the body of Christ, could not cure. So take, drink, and prepare to be edified.”
—Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; author, Biblical Authority after Babel and Faith Speaking Understanding
“Fred Sanders’ book should be required reading for anyone involved in the work of the Gospel. It will help readers catch a fresh vision of the depths of the message they strive to proclaim and foster a renewed sense of the grandeur of the Christian life they invite people to enjoy.”
—Mark Hopson, President, National School Project
“The Deep Things of God is at once profound and immediate. God's Triune majesty is brought down to our daily prayers and life as believers. Anyone who wants to know their great God better will be blessed by meditating on the scriptural and practical truth in this book. Any Christian leader who wants to ground his local congregation in the life of the Three-in-One God will find both biblical depth and devotional insight to help him. In The Deep Things of God Fred Sanders makes clear what we tacitly know, that 'the gospel is trinitarian and the Trinity is the gospel.' This book shows the same wisdom Fred has shown in ministering in our church. The Deep Things of God shows that the faith which we held so delicately at our baptism is an expression of our personal relationship with Father, Son and Spirit. We live out The Deep Things of God every time we pray to the Father by the Son and through the Spirit. It is my prayer that the whole church will embrace The Deep Things of God and celebrate our relationship to the Trinity in the life of the church.”
—Scott Carpenter, Elder, Grace Fellowship Church, Costa Mesa, CA
“There simply aren't enough superlatives to describe how important and timely this book is. Sanders demonstrates how the Trinity is at the heart of the Gospel and the foundation of the Christian life, and makes his case by bringing forward distinctly evangelical voices. But this is no book of abstract theology: Sanders' work is lively, engaging, and accessible. He brings the Trinity out of the cloistered walls of academia and into the living room, explaining in terms anyone can understand that we are immersed in the reality of the Triune God. There is no better guide I know of to explore the deep things of God than this book, and it deserves a wide and serious hearing by pastors, theologians, and laymen alike.”
—Matthew Lee Anderson, author, Body Matters: Overcoming the New Gnosticism of Young Evangelicals; blogger, MereOrthodoxy.com
“Deep Things of God is a fascinating exploration of the trinitarian heartbeat of the gospel which underlies the rich (though often ignored) practices of evangelicalism. Fred Sanders wears his considerable learning lightly; this is a book I'm going to buy for my parents and recommend to my fellow doctoral students.”
—Ben Rhodes, PhD candidate in Systematic Theology, Kings College, University of Aberdeen
About the Author
Fred Sanders (PhD, Graduate Theological Union) is professor of theology at the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University. Sanders is the author of The Deep Things of God and blogs at ScriptoriumDaily.com.
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The Trinity, the doctrine of three persons in one Godhood, seems to be the Christian doctrine farthest removed from the concerns of everyday life. It would be fair to say that very few Christians spend much time thinking about this sort of theology, especially since it is a doctrine that is somewhat counter-intuitive. Evangelicals, like every other branch of orthodox Christianity accept and believe in the Trinity, but it does not seem all that urgent to try to understand, or explain.
Fred Sanders in his book, The Deep Things of God, asserts otherwise. The doctrine of the Trinity is of immense importance in understanding what might be called "the Economy of Salvation", that is to say why and how God chose to give up His Son to die for our sins. He explains that the story of the Gospel is but a small part of the greater reality of the Three in One God, who has existed from all eternity. This truth, whether we acknowledge it openly, or understand it implicitly, shapes the Christian's understanding of God, the Scriptures and our prayers.
In general, I liked this book and found it encouraging and informative. I also found it a bit dull and repetitive in places and it took me longer to read this book than it might have for books of similar length. This is more of a matter of personal taste than a judgment of the quality of the book and the ideas contained in it.
However, I think what most pleased me about Sanders's book was his sustained focus on showing how the Trinity is necessary for the good news of the gospel. The Trinity is not merely some theological conundrum to be solved, or some mystical relationship only of interest to 2000 year old men, but it is a central belief of the broadly Christian and narrowly evangelical church.
On the whole, The Deep Things of God provides a useful addition to books like Robert Letham's The Holy Trinity, Michael Reeves's Delighting in the Trinity, and Darrell Johnson's Experiencing the Trinity. It tends to be bookish at times, but worth the hard work if you are willing to dig in.