Skip to main content

Book: Trinity without Hierarchy

Trinity Without HierarchyToday's book is Trinity without Hierarchy, from Kregel Academic. It’s edited by Michael F. Bird and Scott Harrower, both of Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia. No, there is not an audiobook of the whole thing done in Australian accents. Sorry.

This is a theology book. It does not have a great over-arching narrative or passionate character development. Why? Because it’s a theology book.

It does have a relevant backstory: theology debates, even within the bounds of orthodoxy, tend to go in cycles. One of the current cycles of debate relates to the Trinity and the interrelationship between the Father and the Son. (We’re not really on the Filioque Controversy and the Spirit right now.) It’s connected, by argument, to the ongoing discussion of family relationships, specifically the relationship between husband and wife.

For those of you who do not keep up, and I don’t blame you for being one of those folks, there is a position which advocates that a wife’s submission to her husband is based in the Son’s eternal submission to the Father. This book addresses not the first part—home relationships are not the actual material in view—but the second: is there eternal, functional submission of the Son to the Father? After all, if there is not, then there is no extension of the argument to household roles.

Please note that Bird,, are not trying to sort out the proper understanding of household codes in Trinity without Hierarchy. The intent here is to investigate the actual theology of the Trinity. After all, if one’s theology does not get this right, it’s hard to figure that the trickle-down remainders will be adequate.

Now, this is not a single-author book. There are sixteen contributors counting the two primary editors. I would have liked to see one-paragraph, or even one-footnote, worth of bio on each contributor, just for my own curiosity. For example, is the Jeff Fisher chapter 9 the former coach of the Tennessee Titans? I suspect not…and I’m fairly certain that Stephen Holmes is the one who spoke at a doctoral colloquy I attended, but I’m not certain.

That is, really, the only ding on the content: I found the chapters a well-rounded study of the historical expression of the doctrine of the Trinity as well as the Biblical doctrine itself. Being a history major, I personally favored the historical information, such as Amy Brown Hughes’ chapter on Gregory of Nyssa. The reader should keep in mind that the intent here is to track Nicene Orthodoxy, which is rooted in Scripture and history.

Biblically, the arguments are sound. The chapters are independent of each other, so the book is easy to read segment-by-segment. The closing chapter on the generational effects of theology is worth the reading of the whole work.

All in all, this is as good of a book focused on the Trinity as I have read. Some doctrinal points were clarified, like the difference in economic and immanent relationships. I highly recommend Trinity without Hierarchy.

(Please note: I received a copy of this book from Kregel Academic.)


Popular posts from this blog

Book: By the Waters of Babylon

Worship. It is what the church does as we strive to honor God with our lips and our lives. And then, many churches argue about worship. I have about a half-dozen books on my shelf about worship, but adding Scott Aniol’s By the Waters of Babylon to the shelf has been excellent.

First of all, Aniol’s work is not based on solving a musical debate. While that branch of worship is often the most troublesome in the local church, By the Waters of Babylon takes a broader view. The starting point is the place of the church. That place is a parallel of Psalm 137, where the people of God, Israel, found themselves in a strange land. The people of God, again, find themselves in a strange land.
Second, in summary, the book works logically to the text of Scripture, primarily Psalm 137 but well-filled with other passages. Then it works outward from how the text addresses the problems submitted in the first chapter into how worship, specifically corporate worship, should look in the 21st century Weste…

Put Down That Tablet! Exodus 35

Moses assembles the people of Israel at Sinai one last time before they set out into the wilderness, headed for the Promised Land. He gives them a reminder of some portions of the commands of God and emphasizes the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35 link).He also gives the one Biblical mention of tablet-type mobile devices in Exodus 35:3, where the command is given not to use your Kindle Fire on the Sabbath Day. Some of you just groaned. Some of you skipped the one-liner, and others just missed it. I’ll address you all in turn, but first let us address the person who thought this might be the hidden meaning of that command. After all, we are so easily distracted from our worship and commitment by all of the digital noise around us, why would we not take this text in this manner?The quite simple answer is: because it is not about digital devices. In total, the command to focus the day on Yahweh, Covenant God of Israel and all of Creation, and if your device subtracts from your f…

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…