Book Review: Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves
I knew the trinitarian nature of God was a distinct feature of our faith, but I thought of it as distinctly mysterious. Important and inscrutable. I’d heard several analogies for understanding the Trinity. It’s like a triangle, no - more like an egg, or actually, think of it as a shamrock. I’ve even heard it compared to a piece of bacon. So, throw together everything I knew about the triune mystery, and you’ve got a rather strange omelette but not much of a doctrine. And certainly not a delightful one.
Michael Reeves’ contribution lives up to its title. In Delighting in the Trinity, he shows us why the Trinity is integral to God’s internal life, to creation, salvation, the Christian life, and more. He doesn’t spend much time stumbling around for the right analogy but digs into the relational dynamics between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and what those dynamics tell us about how we relate to God and each other. The doctrine of the Trinity matters because it tells us something essential and marvelous about what God is like.
I should probably warn you, though, this may not be the book you want to read in a quiet coffee shop or at your local library, because you will be regularly overcome by the urge to sing and shout. It’s downright worshipful. Not until I read Delighting in the Trinity did I realize what a glorious gift Jesus asked the Father to give me when he prayed, “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” Actually, after you finish this book, I recommend re-reading John 17. More singing and shouting may ensue.
Reeves also weaves figures and concepts from church history throughout the text, so readers gain a broader understanding of not only the trinitarian doctrine but how Christians arrived at these conclusions over time. Although brief, these sections are immensely helpful. Most of the questions we ask about God have occurred to people who lived before us and who were a lot smarter than we are. Not only are we helped by their wisdom - we can learn from their errors, too. (New heresies are pretty uncommon at this point in history.)
Every women’s magazine at the grocery store recommends incorporating more self care into my routine, and while I’m a big fan of bubble baths and pedicures, I can’t think of any better soul care than slipping into this truly delightful rumination on the triune identity of God. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite passages on the life we receive through the Spirit, just to whet your appetite:
“The life the Spirit gives is not an abstract package of blessing; it is his own life that he shares with us, the life of fellowship with the Father and Son. Thus the Spirit is not like some divine milkman, leaving the gift of ‘life’ on our doorsteps only to move on. In giving us life, he comes in to be with us and remain with us. Having once given life, then, he does not move on; he stays to make that life blossom and grow.”