This is a book that every Christian should read–new Christians, old Christians, theologically illiterate Christians, and theologically astute Christians will all benefit and enjoy the gems of truth found in Delighting in the Trinity.
I hesitate to begin this book review in such a way because each review I have read has said the same thing, but it is the honest truth so here we go… Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves will rock your theological world and give you a renewed vision for who God is and how we as his children relate to him. Before going on, I want to say two things: 1.) Buy this book and 2.) Read it, underline it, and digest it. You will be so glad you did.
I am usually wary of claims that a book contains something “new” or “unique” within its pages because I usually equate such a claim with the book containing unorthodox theology, but I can honestly say that unless you have spent much time studying and meditating on the doctrine of the trinity, this small little book will give you a vision of God that you hadn’t dared understand before.
So what “new” information does Michael Reeves bring to the table? Nothing truly new to the theological community, in fact many of his arguments and explanations are drawn from the marvelous meditations of historical Puritan minds, but rather, it is the manner in which he seeks to share the beauty of the Trinity with his readers that sets this work apart from others. His method for instructing our hearts in the doctrine of the Trinity is reflected in the subtitle of the book: “An Introduction to the Christian Faith.” At first I was a little put off by this title. After all (not to seem prideful), I don’t see myself as one in need of an introduction to the Christian faith. I wanted to get into the nitty gritty theological issues surrounding the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! How do these three persons of the Trinity exist together and how do they individually impact my life? In Reeves’ book I found answers to all these questions, but most importantly I was challenged to view my Christian life as being fundamentally shaped by my understanding of the God who is three in one. “For it is only when you grasp what it means for God to be a Trinity that you really sense the beauty, the overflowing kindness, the heart-grabbing loveliness of God. (Pg.9)”
With this premise in place–that the doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of our understanding of God--Reeves takes his readers on a marvelous journey exploring the different facets and implications of this God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Rather than a dry, inconvenient, and burdensome doctrine to study and make a place for in our theology, we are taught how the trinitarian understanding of God is a most joyful and life-changing truth meant to be feasted upon by the children of God. Here is one example of how Reeves emphasizes this:
This is salvation with jam on top. In fact, the more trinitarian the salvation, the sweeter it is. For it is not just that we are brought before the Father in the Son; we receive the Spirit with which he was anointed. Jesus said in John 16: 14 that the Spirit “will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” The Spirit takes what is the Son’s and makes it ours. When the Spirit rested upon the Son at his baptism, Jesus heard the Father declare from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” But now that the same Spirit of sonship rests on me, the same words apply to me: in Christ my high priest I am adopted, beloved, Spirit-anointed son. As Jesus says to the Father in John 17: 23, you “have loved them even as you have loved me.” And so, as the Son brings me before his Father, with their Spirit in me I can boldly cry, “Abba,” for their fellowship I now freely share: The Most High my Father, The Son my great brother, the Spirit no longer Jesus’ Comforter, but mine. (Pg. 75)”
If there were any drawbacks to Reeves’ book it would be that at times arguments are forcefully made from logic rather than strictly Biblical evidence. The main argument I am thinking of is that if God were not triune–if he didn’t always exist in this relational way–then he could not be a loving, benevolent, outward focused deity. I found the Biblical argument and evidence for this point to be compelling and encouraging (how marvelous that this is our God, that he exists in this way!), but wasn’t convinced that his trinitarian existence was the only logical explanation for why God is love. Even if the one true God were simply one person (rather than three in one), if the Scriptures revealed him to be love, then he could, in fact be love. God, by definition is self-attesting and self-revealing. He is what he says he is, because he is God, not because he makes sense and not because he fits into our understanding of reality. For this reason, at times I found myself questioning if Reeves was arguing more from a philosophical understanding of the Trinity than a purely Biblical understanding. I didn’t, however, find these logical arguments to be at odds with biblical data, and so have no reservation in recommending this book to you.
Delighting in the Trinity is beautifully written and Reeves’ writing style is reminiscent of the Puritan authors he is clearly influenced by. However, that doesn’t mean it is a difficult book to read or that it would be ridiculous to hand this book to a new believer or an unbeliever even. It is incredibly accessible and at times even funny. Overall, it was a book that I looked forward to picking up every chance I got and one that has dramatically altered and enlivened my understanding of the Trinity and thus God himself. I look forward to reading more works by Reeves and wholeheartedly recommend this one to you!
You can purchase Delighting in the Trinity here at Amazon.com.