What is the Trinity? by RC Sproul

What is the Trinity by RC SproulSummary: Short Introduction to the Trinity.

Last week RC Sproul and his publisher (Reformation Trust) released the entire Crucial Questions series for free on kindle (list and links here.)

I have read Sproul’s Holiness of God and ,with a few reservations, thought it was good. But that has been the only of Sproul’s books I have read.

I read this introduction to the Trinity in bed after my wife had gone to sleep.  It is not long (63 pages) and even then it felt shorter.

But Sproul included a lot of content in that short book.  He looks at what the Trinity is not, by looking at some of the Christian heresies that forced the church to clarify it teaching.

Sproul made a distinction between paradox, mysteries and irrationality and concludes that the Trinity is not a paradox or irrationality but a mystery. (A more complete look at this idea is in the very good book Mystery of God.)

I also appreciate that Sproul talks about the differences in language that I have not seen in any other short book on the trinity.  Usually we talk about the Trinity as ‘three persons, but one essence.”  But those words (person and essence) have changes since the 4th and 5th century when they were being written into the creeds.  Sproul does not spend a lot of time on that, but he at least bring up the issue. (A more complete look at this is in Quest for the Trinity.)

One minor area that I thought was a distraction is that Sproul spends some time talking about Hagel and the idea in the History of Religions that religion in general goes from animism to pantheism to henotheism (each area has one God) to monotheism.  That idea has been discredited as a necessary progression of culture so I am not sure why he felt it important in such a short book.

But what I found even odder is that Sproul immediately goes from that cultural evolutionary idea to the idea of progressive revelation without any discussion about why the idea of progressive revelation is not influenced by evolution.  His points are not bad in this section, but they are unclear and a distraction to the overall message of the book.  It almost seems like he is saying “Hagel has a bad idea about evolution, but my idea (progressive revelation) is a good take on evolution.”  And I am sure that is not what was intended.

On the whole this book (and probably the series) would make a good background to basics in Christian Theology. (And they are free, so no reason to not pick them up.)

What is the Trinity Free Link: Kindle Edition

One Comment

I was impressed by how much he was able to squeeze into a small volume. I thought it was a good read.

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