Book Review: Delighting in the Trinity

Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP, 2012)

The quick review: read this book.

The longer review: Michael Reeves has attempted to give us a readable book about the Christian doctrine of the trinity and not only make it sound understandable, but essential for the Christian understanding of God and his gospel.

Reeves’ thesis, I believe, can be summed up with this quote.

If God is not Father, Son and Spirit then he is eminently rejectable: without love, radiance or beauty.  Who would want such a God to have any power, or even exist?  But the triune, living God of the Bible is Beauty.  Here is a God we can really want, and whose sovereignty we can wholeheartedly rejoice on.  (pp111-12)

There are some important things to note about this.  Firstly, for Reeves, the trinity is all about God.  The doctrine is not something that we use to try and resolve an inconvenient dilemma about how Jesus can be God and yet there is also a Father.  It tells us who God is.

Secondly, throughout the book Reeves repeatedly uses the word ‘beauty’ to describe God and the trinity.  This kept wrong footing me because I am not used to the word coming up in a theological book like this.  On one hand I think he uses it well and the wrong footing for me was a chance to stop and think.  On the other hand I don’t see the term being used as a repeatedly in Scripture (though I am sure people will now fill the comments section with Biblical references).

I think the best thing I got out of this book was how the trinity helps me understand the gospel around the idea of love.  That sin is stopping being lovers of others and becoming lover of the self.  That the character of God is to be loving of the other within the trinity and then towards creation and humanity.

This book is probably best for mature Christians, leaders and professionals in ministry.  I found it very readable, but reading through other reviews, not everyone did.  Being readable, it was also very meaty.  There is a lot to stop and think about in terms of God, his character and his gospel, and I am looking forward to reading this in a group.

Throughout the book there are several asides from church history and other theologians.  I appreciated these nods to historical theology but if you were reading this with a young Christian or a group of youngish Christians these could be tangents that need to be explained.

A trial of the first chapter can be found here.