Trinitarian Church Resources
I have recently finished a series of posts on how a Trinitarian understanding of God shapes how we do church. I do believe this is a significant topic. As A. W. Tozer wrote, “What comes to mind when we think of God is the most important thing about us.” It is also important that the Church reminds itself that one of the significant differences between our God and an idol is that our God is Triune. The unfortunate fact is that most churches are functional unitarians. While they may be confessionally orthodox, but they worship, commune, and communicate the gospel as unitarians.
I wanted to put down a list of helpful resources on this topic and say a few words about each. I will start with some older works, then move into contemporary, both evangelical and liberal.
- Five Theological Orations by Gregory Nazianzus. I used a very old translation of this work, so I don’t know who has recently published it. St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press published my version. Nazianzus is one the Cappadocian Fathers during the 4th century. Nazianzus is helpful in understanding certain aspects of the Trinity that is ignored in today’ scholarship and is helpful in practical application of a Trinitarian understanding of God.
- On the Trinity by St. Augustine. Augustine work is helpful in understanding God’s relationship within the Trinitarian community and relationship to the world. This work is one the greatest theological works written among any topic, so the importance of this book can go without saying.
- Monologion by Anselm. I used a compilation of his works published by Oxford World’s Classics. Anselm is a little bit of a more difficult read, at least for me. He explains much of the logic behind a Trinitarian understanding of God. But he also argues for the need for joy, faith, and love for the Trinity even when it seems inexplicable.
- Institutes of Christian Religion by John Calvin. Calvin’s work gives us understanding into the incomprehensibility of the Trinity. He argues that while our understanding of God as a Trinity is right, we have little understanding of it. In fact, God communicates himself to us in what he calls “babytalk” or a “lisp” so that lowly minds can grasp categories of the awesome being that he is.
- Death of Death in the Death of Jesus Christ by John Owen. Owen’s work on the redemption work of Christ shows precisely how the work of redemption was a Trinitarian work. This is most helpful in communicating the gospel, whether or not you believe in particular redemption.
- Communion with God by John Owen. Owen’s effort in Communion is to show the biblical argument for how each member of the Trinity communes with the saints. A great slow, devotional, thought-provoking read as well. While this book certainly takes patience, especially if you are new to Owen, it has wonderful rewards. Taylor and Kapic’s Crossway updated edition is a great help.
- Church Dogmatics, vol 1 by Karl Barth. Barth has good insights on how we should think of the Trinity in relation to the Church and the world. Barth sometimes makes some categorical distinctions that I don’t think are helpful, but he certainly is quotable. When Barth is good, he is good.
Contemporary Works – Liberal, Feminist, or Egalitarian
- Faith Seeking Understanding by Daniel L. Migliore. Migliore is a great read and I would certainly suggest this book in understanding certain issues that face trinitarian scholarship today. He applies some great community and social applications from a trinitarian understanding of God that are wonderfully insightful. His understanding of redemption within a trinitarian formula is good as well. Migliore is certainly an egalitarian and neo-feminist (I don’t know how else to put it) when it comes to understanding how we should worship and communicate the Trinity. I don’t agree with much of him there, but he is a modern day Barth and is quotable as well.
- Jesus and the Father: Modern Evangelicals Reinvent the Doctrine of the Trinity by Kevin Giles. Giles concerns much of his work against a complimentarian view of the Trinity. He views a modern evangelical view of the Trinity as nothing short of Arian Subordinationism. He holds an egalitarian view of the Trinity.
- What Language Shall I Borrow by Brian Wren. Wren’s work is certainly liberal and egalitarian but reveals some modern arguments for the use of diverse images for God in worship and communication.
- She Who Is by Elizabeth Johnson. This work and the next few are popular feminist theologians who argue primarily for a feminine image of God. You can read my post to understand their arguments. They are helpful in the sense that they are honest theologians who at least speak with conviction and their arguments are thought-out. Apart from that, I think they are misguided and deviate much from Scripture.
- Transforming Grace: Christian Tradition and Women’s Experience by Anne Carr. Carr.
- Man as Male and Female: A Study in Sexual Relationships from a Theological Viewpoint by Paul Jewitt.
- Faith, Feminism and the Christ by Patricia Wilson-Kastner.
- Sex, Race, and God: Christian Feminism in Black and White by Susan Thistethwaite.
Modern Evangelical Works
- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance by Bruce Ware. Just one of the best modern scholarly works on the Trinity. Ware’s efforts not only solidify much of the traditional orthodox views but presents fresh biblical arguments for applying it to the Church and the communication of the gospel.
- “Tampering with the Trinity: Does the Son Submit to the Father?” (PDF) by Bruce Ware. This article can be found in JBMW. Ware explains some basic arguments against a complimentarian view of the Trinity and argues against them, showing the biblical warrant for a complimentarian view.
- The Holy Trinity: in Scripture, History, Theology and Worship by Robert Lethman. Lethman’s last few chapters of his book deal mainly with the Trinity and ecclesiastical worship. Very helpful and worth a look.
- Engaging With the Holy Spirit by Graham Cole. Much of the book is devoted to applying the doctrine of the Trinity to Church and the Christian life. A very good chapter on prayer and the Holy Spirit.