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The Trinity

Donald Fairbairn

3.0

3.0

The Trinity

Donald Fairbairn

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One day, history—events in time and space—will give way to eternity. And the end of all things will mark a new beginning. ... God’s work with the human race in time and space has been, and continues to be, a series of new beginnings.

At every point, the Trinity is central, for God’s relationship to his Son and his Spirit stands behind everything about his relationship to us. Starting from before time began, Donald Fairbairn leads us through these beginnings, shedding fresh light on the Trinity at each stage. He offers clues and questions along the way, inviting us to join in the discovery process.

Beautifully written so that even a young believer can benefit, this book leads us to worship the Father, Son, and Spirit as it enhances our appreciation of our wonderful, Trinitarian gospel.


Selected Commendations:

"This little book opens a window to the vast and panoramic reality of the Triune God behind the entire world, before creation itself, and beneath the gospel as its sure foundation."

Fred Sanders, Torrey Honors College, Biola University, and author of The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything



"Step by step, Donald Fairbairn introduces us to the essential doctrine of the Trinity. While many shy away from it because of its supposed complexity, Fairbairn demonstrates how accessible and vital it is for the Christian. If you are looking for a history of the debates and dogmatic conflicts, you won't find it here. But you will find a clearly constructed case that confines itself to what the Bible says (apart from contemporary allusions to Tolkien et al!). This is a great starting point for understanding."

Dr Derek Tidball, speaker, Bible teacher, and author

  • Title

    The Trinity

  • Author(s)

    Donald Fairbairn

  • Series

    Union

  • ISBN

    9781739342685

  • Format

    Paperback

  • Publisher

    Union Publishing

  • Topic

    Trinity

  • Audience

    Adults

  • Pages

    96

  • Published

    03/18/2024

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Overall rating

3.0 based on 1 review

Good but Flawed

I liked much about this book, but also have significant reservations. I would not recommend it to a friend. The book has three great strengths. First, it is amazingly clear and simple, yet without sacrificing theological depth. Second, the book is heavily Scripture-based: a passage or two are presented in each chapter, and by the end of the chapter, the reader can see that only the doctrine of the Trinity is a good explanation of the passages. Third, the book connects the eternal sonship of the Son with the spiritual adoption of believers - a very biblical, comforting, and glorious connection which is too seldom made for folks in the pews. I was very happy to see it. However, the book also has a weakness which, for me, knocked it down from four or five stars to three: at some points, it presents a picture of the Trinity which is more social than Nicene. For example, on page 40 Fairbairn says: "And although the Bible doesn't say so directly, we can guess that the Holy Spirit also shared with the Father and the Son in unity, glory, and love "before" the foundation of the world." And on page 42, "Again, we can assume the same reasoning applies to the Holy Spirit as well; he is a distinct person who shares genuine love with the Father and the Son." In both quotes, in absence of biblical support, the Fairbairn implies that love is shared between the Father and the Spirit in the same way that it is shared between the Father and the Son. Probably, many readers will assume from this that there simply isn't any biblical data on the relationship between the Spirit and intra-trinitarian love. However, this is not the case: biblically, it is better to say that the Spirit is himself the love between the Father and the Son, or is at least the conduit of this love (see Jesus' baptism, for example). Presumably, the reasoning used in the book stems from the fact that Fairbairn doesn't define the persons according to their eternal relations of origin (the begottenness of the Son and spiration of the Spirit), but according to social relationships with one another. And, this is probably connected to the fact that Fairbairn locates the unity of God's being in the social unity of the persons. He does this on pages 40-41 in an uncharacteristically confusing and illogical paragraph, which essentially argues that if the persons agree all the time, they must actually be one God - tell that to my LDS friends! And it is probably on this basis that he then uses the relationship between the Father and the Son as the social basis for relationships within the church - a move which I do not believe is supported by either Scripture or sound theology. All that to say, I picked up the book expecting a biblical and Nicene Trinity. And in some ways, it delivered quite well (e.g., inseparable operations, pg. 53). But in other ways, it was disappointing - and all the more so because of how well it is written and how clearly it is argued. So, hats off to Fairbairn for a generally good book... but I'm still looking for the perfect book on the Trinity to hand to folks in the pews.
Ezra

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