Essay / Theology

Deep Things Here, Deep Things There

Here’s an update on a few more reviews and discussions of Deep Things of God around the web.

Jason Sexton in the brand new Themelios provides a nice, long review of the book, calling the book a feast, an unusually bold work, and something that should be “read by every undergraduate student in any evangelical academic institution in North America and should also be on the reading list for every seminary-level class in theology proper.” Wow! Sounds like everybody ought to get busy ordering it for Christmas! Sexton also raises some good questions about the way I dismiss certain models of the Trinity a bit too quickly.

Andrew Faris at Someone Tell Me The Story posts a review that nails the main point: Deep Things

reminds evangelicals that we are far more Trinitarian than most of us realize. When we think about God at all, when we preach and receive the gospel, and when we pray or read our Bibles, we are doing Trinity stuff. Sanders just wants to show us how, to make us see the routes and boundaries of the landscape we have been moving on all along.

Faris goes on to worry that the hard parts of the book might scare off some of the people who need to read it the most. He may be right. So give a copy to somebody you love, with the hard parts torn out or stapled together!

Gospel Gadgets posts a quotation-rich review (pretty much a quote from every chapter) that rightly names my goal:

Sander’s desire throughout the book: that the Evangelical movement would remember where it came from and embrace afresh a deeply rooted Trinitarian understanding of God, life, and the gospel.

Pastor Brian Hedges discovered the book around the same time as he discovered the paintings of Ed Knippers, and blogged about us together. Estimable company! Hedges welcomes the book as a counter-movement to this depressing trend:

Many Christian leaders and churches spend far too much time on peripheral aspects of Christian teaching, discussing and debating issues that we disagree with one another about, while neglecting the more central doctrines of the faith that are most integral to the gospel – doctrines such as the Trinity, creation, incarnation, and resurrection.

And here is proof that the British edition of the book is out. It’s from IVP-UK, under the title Embracing the Trinity: Life with God in the Gospel, and it was quoted this week in a UK blog. The author, Chris Hobbs, goes on to draw this idea from one of the chaptes:

God didn’t need to do anything – such as create the world, reveal himself, or redeem us – in order to be happy. That means that what God does, and what we experience of him, is the overflow of his happiness. That makes his blessings all the more secure, because he is utterly secure in himself and doesn’t need us to prop him up in any way.

Finally, here are a handful of quotes I’ve seen this month from Twitter, tumblr, Facebook, and micro-blogs:

“We ought to take God so seriously that we consider him more interesting than ourselves.”

“A Gospel which is only about the moment of conversion but does not extend to every moment of life in Christ is too small.

Salvation is Trinitarian, whether you know it or not; breakthroughs can happen when you move from not knowing to knowing.

Indeed, it is true that the doctrine of the Trinity changes everything about Christian life. But the wisest Christian teachers have always known that shortcuts to relevance are self-defeating. In by passing the deep sources of reality, they not only miss the truth but ultimately deliver less practical benefit. When it comes to the difference that the doctrine of the Trinity can make in our lives, it is crucially important that we begin with a recognition of God in himself before moving on to God for us.”

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