OK, first let me say that I feel quite sheepish. I start a new series of posts on the Gospel and then, voila, you don’t hear from me for months. Sorry about that. A major reason for delay was the fact that we left the States and have sense moved to Africa. That kind of change tends to take up a bit of your time. Having said that, the bigger reason that this little corner of the blogosphere has gone silent is because I didn’t really know how I wanted to move forward with the series. I thought about systematizing the series and having everything figured out in advance in terms of what aspect of the Gospel I’d look at from one day/week/month to the next, but honestly, that felt a little forced and way above my pay-grade 🙂
So, here’s how this will work. As I learn something new about the Gospel, I’ll share it. Simple, huh. As one aspect/facet/branch/etc of the Gospel strikes me, I’ll try to elaborate on it here. Nothing fancy, nor schmancy. So, onward and upward.
I’m reading Fred Sanders’ book The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything. And I really like his approach to this important topic. One of the first things he does is to repeat something everyone already knows and then shares something that nobody realizes! Everyone seems to say that Evangelicals are weak when it comes to Trinitarian Theology. Sanders argues, first, that the reason Evangelicals are often weak in this area is because they focus so much on the areas of the faith that are centered around Salvation. Evangelicals have 100 different ways to share the Gospel is less that 5 minutes with someone, but we don’t know what to do with the Trinity. Of course, it’s generalizing to say that a group as large at the Evangelical world has no depth of thought on this topic, but generalizations often exist for a reason.
What Sanders does now is he takes what I just shared: “Evangelicals = Bad Trinitarian reflection & Good Gospel focus” and argues (I think persuasively) that because Evangelicals focus so much on the Gospel, that should actually lead them to be the absolute best Trinitarians. Sanders believes that Evangelicals, because of their Gospel focus, are already more Trinitarian than others, but the problem is that they don’t realize it. Their Trinitarian focus is subconscious, in a sense. The Gospel which they so cherish is an achievement which requires the full participation of all 3 members of the Godhead.
He further argues that those traditions that have historically articulated Trinitarian theology well typically emphasize things that are not, at their deepest root, concerned with the Trinity, and are, therefore, poor ground out of which to grow deep Trinitarians. He does not bash those other emphases (liturgy, service, tradition), in fact, he sees that those things could serve the Gospel emphasis. The answer for Evangelicals isn’t necessarily to adopt a Trinitarian liturgy, but to see that the thing they are already passionate about (The Gospel) has everything to do with the Triunity of God.
In short, Deep Things, thus far, has been excellent. I highly recommend it. There are portions that might seem quite dense if you aren’t use to reading meatier things, but it’s worth wading through. What you’ll get is some classic explanation of Trinitarian concepts, but also, a ton of exposition on why the Trinity so important to our faith, our church, our ministry, our family, our lives, etc. I’m excited to read more myself.