Book Review: One God in Three Persons (Bruce Ware & John Starke, editors)

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The bill for this collection of essays was full of pastors/theologians I was excited to learn from: Grudem, Hamilton, Starke, Oliphint, etc. As it turns out, however, I was learning just as much about complementarianism as I was about the Trinity. What this collection of thoroughly academic work did was do more than analyze how the Trinity operates, and how to understand it, but more so, how we understand us in relation to it.

Egalitarianism and other feminist theology has posed different angles in how we should understand the Trinity, and thus, ourselves and how man and woman relate to each other. In this book, scholars aim to put to rest these egalitarian ideas about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In this collection, you’ll find Scriptural arguments for eternal submission to the Father, the immanent Trinity, and the distinct actions of each person in the Trinity.

I really enjoyed most of the essays. Some of the most interesting pieces to me include Cowan’s work on the Trinity as revealed in the gospel of John, Claunch’s exposition of 1 Corinthians 11:3, and Starke’s piece on Augustine.

I provide a word of caution here: many readers may pick up this book anticipating clarification on the Trinity, when in fact, at some points it almost seems to get more confusing. This is not a systematic treatment of the Trinity, but rather, a defense of complementarian views, with the Trinity as the basis for those views. I don’t necessarily agree with all of these implications of this approach — I feel like the complementarian vs. egalitarian debate can sometimes use the Trinity as their “power play” when in reality the Trinity is all about submissiveness, not necessarily power and authority. For further elaboration on what I mean, check out this great postby Scott Swain.

Here’s why you should read this book: It’s a great collection of well-thought-out academic work on the complementarian view of the Trinity, and how those who hold to such a view can rightly make a defense for it against the egalitarian approach. It’s pretty advanced, but if such topics are up your alley, you’ve got a great resource here.

Stars: 4.0/5.0
I was provided this book via Crossway in exchange for my review.

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