I owe much of my understanding of the beautiful doctrine of the Trinity to Mike Reeves, author of ‘The Good God’, a book I am currently re-reading for the umpteenth time for a church training day coming up in a couple of weeks. In this book, Mike Reeves takes us on a tour of hundreds of years of church history and draws out faithful, orthodox teaching on the Trinity and presents it to us in an accessible (but don’t read that as simplistic) style. I don’t mean this to be a standard sort of book review – “this was insightful, I got bored at this bit, and I think this bit was off the mark…” Partly because I don’t think I can fault the book – it’s even got pictures in it!
The reason I’m writing this post is because I think you should be shocked and deeply unsettled by this book.
I have grown somewhat numb to the scandal of it in recent years, but picking it up again I’ve noticed once more how radical and unsettling this book is. Reeves presents a Christianity that is markedly different from that often spoken about and written about in current church culture. And I don’t think that’s because he’s reading church history wrong…
What was God doing before creation? Why was anything created? What is sin? How does sanctification happen? These important questions are not new – the church has been asking and answering them for centuries. What has changed, though, is how un-Trinitarian our answers have become. And we’re the poorer for it.
I’m told that in recent years there has been a renewed interest in the doctrine of the Trinity in theological seminaries and colleges. Some of this interest has trickled down into churches and songs and our terminology – it’s not unusual now to hear people speaking of God as a father. But that’s not what Reeves is promoting – a mere change in our language or a renewed emphasis on an aspect of God’s character. The point is not so much that he is a father, but that the deepest, most fundamental thing we can say about God is that he is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This changes everything. Yes, everything – I’m even using bold, italic and underline to impress how revolutionary this is! Want to know why? Ha – you’ll have to read the book!
So – the book review-y bit….
If you’ve not read ‘The Good God’ yet, pick it up and start now! It will delight you, surprise you and humble you, as you see how much more glorious our God is than you previously thought. Learn to re-frame your thinking and questions so that we’re not speaking of an abstract deity but of the Living God who has revealed Himself through His Son and has drawn us into fellowship with Christ by His Spirit.