Trinitarian Reading: The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything by Fred Sanders

The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything (Crossway, 2010) by Fred Sanders is excellent. The book is not a Systematic treatment of the doctrine of the Trinity. Sure, there is a lot of theological-speak but Sanders’ feet are firmly planted on the ground, this book is not idealistic or abstract. It is a highly readable,  very good introduction to Evangelicalism’s Trinitarian shape (cf. Chapter 4 – “The Shape of the Gospel”). Sanders aim is emphatic — “The central argument of this book is that the doctrine of the Trinity inherently belongs to the gospel itself” (9) — and, since Evangelicals have historically been all about the gospel, Sanders demonstrates that Evangelicals have historically been all about the Trinity.

Sanders soberly considers the link between the Trinity and the gospel: “A gospel that rearranges the components of your life but does not put you personally in the presence of God is too small.” The doctrine of the Trinity that inherently belongs to the gospel is itself the very “deep things of God” that changes everything for an Evangelical Christian. Sanders quotes Beeson Divinity School’s Gerald Bray to highlight the efficacy of  Trinitiarian grace in the changed life of an Evangelical Christian.

Without pride in our own tradition or prejudice against other forms of Christianity, we must surely proclaim that the experience of a personal relationship with God, sealed by the Spirit in the finished work of the Son from Whom He proceeds, is a deeper and more satisfying faith than any other known to man. . . . Evangelical Protestants are not wrong in insisting that theirs is a deeper, more vital experience of Christ than that enjoyed by Christians of other traditions. We have not received the grace of God in vain and we must not be ashamed to own the Christ we know as the only Lord and Saviour of men (10-11). 

Sanders aims to do nothing less than stir up our Evangelical memories, challenging Evangelicals to take ownership of their shared, rich history of vital Trinitarianism. Sanders sends out a clear note, a conservative call (in the traditional use of the word … progressing while simultaneously conserving) for Evangelicals to celebrate the vital and meaningful life which is changed/created when a Christian lives life in light of the doctrine of the knowledge and truth of the Trinity. Sanders advocates an emphatic refocus upon the Trinity and gospel, the very  “deep things of God.” This conservative action will subvert the contemporary “spiritual shallowness,” which has plagued Evangelical Christianity and given rise to “evangelical coldness toward the Trinity” (11). The Evangelical recollection of memory will, Sanders hopes, carry a Christian further up and further into the Trinity and the gospel, that is, into the “deep things of God.”