Tim Chester. Delighting in the Trinity. Milwaukie, OR: The Good Book Company, November 1st, 2010. 192 pp.
According to the back cover this book aims to show how the Trinity is “fantastically good news.” The book is divided into three parts with part one looking at the Biblical foundation for the Trinity, part two focuses on the historical developments of the Trinity throughout church history and part three concentrate on the practical implications. The part of the book that I most enjoyed was part one in which the author Tim Chester presented the Biblical proof for the Trinity. The part of the book that I, and most likely most readers will learn the most from is the historical theology section. Here in part two of the book Chester divided the church’s historical development into three parts which is roughly divided between the second through fourth century AD, the fifth through sixteenth century AD and finally the 17th through 20th century AD. I found Chester informative. However I do question Chester’s point that the 17th-20th Century has been about putting the Trinity at the margins and then again at the center of theology. I think seeing the Church as a whole, the doctrine of the Trinity has been at the center for much of the early part of Church history as a whole (just look at all the church councils and creeds). Chester is right that in Western Europe there was a marginalization of the Trinity due to the Enlightenment which had a tendency towards rationalism and Unitarianism. But I don’t know if we can say the Trinity was marginalized by the rest of the Church or elsewhere in the world. The part of the book that I was most looking forward to was the practical implications. It seems that there have been a recent revival among Evangelicals to study the Trinity and draw out its implication for the Christian life and faith. I thought that Chester could have been more explicit at times in this section of the book. That is, he could have been more explicit about how the Trinity applies to the Christian life; there were times in the book in which I wondered where was the Trinitarian implication. Maybe this is more a stylistic issue; for instance I felt the discussion about the Trinity and salvation spent a long time talking about different views of the atonement which is good and I agree with penal substitutionary atonement but he could have done a better job tying the Trinity into the subject matter. I felt the same criticism applies to his chapter on the Trinity and revelation. His strongest chapter in this section was on the Trinity and humanity. There is an excellent discussion of the problem of one and the many and society pitting the battle between the individual and society and how when we look at the Trinity we see the perfect pattern that has implication for the unity of the church and other spheres of humanity. Very good, I was surprised that Chester didn’t footnote anything here from Van Til or Rushdoony! Do read this book but also read other works on the Trinity as well.