Bought by the Blood

July 16, 2011

The Deep Things of God by Fred Sanders: A Review

In today’s evangelical culture where phrases like “Christ-Centered” are in vogue and topics of the Gospel and Christ finished work are common place, I found reading “The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything,” by Fred Sanders quite refreshing. Many of the books that I’ve read lately have been more on the topic of practical application, parenting and other assorted topics.  This was my first time reading a theology book in ages, and being a parent of a toddler my brain has limited bandwidth and I definitely noticed this book stretching my brain in ways that it hasn’t in a while.  With all of that said, I would not recommend this book if you are looking for a light read.

Starting the book, the first chapter was definitely intimidating.  Sanders lays out a philosophical argument for why the trinity should be important for Christians today. To be honest, this chapter was hard to read and my fear was that if the rest of the book was like that then it would be hard to finish.  I did finish the book and after the first chapter, the information became easier to process.  Sanders uses the first chapter to lay a foundation for the rest of the book, from there he spends the bulk of book talking about how the gospel finds its root in the trinity.  The book concludes with reflections on how the trinity relates to Bible reading and prayer.

Theology for theology sake is useless.  What Sanders excels in with this book is taking the reader past a knowledge of God and to the worship of God.  In chapter two I found myself worshipping God for who He is, particularly His self-sufficiency within the trinity and how He doesn’t need anyone or anything else to complete or satisfy Himself.  In chapter three I found myself worshipping God for all of His acts, particularly that of saving me.  In chapter four I found myself worshipping God for the access He has provided by adopting me through the work of the trinity.  In chapter five I found myself worshipping God for the specific roles He fulfills in the trinity and how He welcomes me to commune with each specific role.  In chapter six I found myself worshipping God for allowing me to encounter Him through His Word which is the breath of His Spirit.  In chapter seven I found myself worshipping God for how as His adopted child I get to each experience person of the trinity in prayer.

If you are wondering why you should buy this book, I will let  the author tell you why from a chapter called, “Into The Saving Life Christ,”

When evangelical Christians come to understand the trinitarian soteriology we have been describing in this book, they tend to describe it as a moment of insight that changes everything about their life and faith. At the very least, they see it as a breakthrough to a new level of depth in the things they had known before.

There is nothing wrong with being  Christ-centered, problems arise when this causes us to becomes Father-forgetting and/or Spirit-ignoring.  When we are Spirit-ignoring and Father-forgetting we shrink the size of the gospel.  The trinity is important because it expands our size the gospel.

A gospel which is only about the moment of conversion but does not extend to every moment of life in Christ is too small. A gospel that gets your sins forgiven but offers no power for transformation is too small. A gospel that isolates one of the benefits of union with Christ and ignores all the others is too small. A gospel that must be measured by your own moral conduct, social conscience, or religious experience is too small. A gospel that rearranges the components of your life but not put you personally in the presence of God is too small.

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