For a couple of months, I felt like I was hocking Peter Scazerro’s Emotionally Healthy Spirituality wherever I was going. Through last fall and into the New Year, I was telling everyone to read his book. I preached three sermons that were inspired by it. I sold copies of it at church. I should have received some kind of commission!
Now I am on to a new book. This is the book you’ve got to read.
Experiencing the Trinity by Darrell Johnson
It is about 100 pages. You can read it in three sittings. I would consider it a must read. It is a wonderful little primer on the doctrine of the Trinity. If you have never explored the Trinity, this book is the book that I would start with.
As noted by the title, it is written as more of a “popular” book. It is not written for academic theologians, but for the everyday follower of Jesus. He makes passionate and compelling pleas to pursue the Trinity in your spiritual walk, as well as in your attempts to love the Lord with all of your mind. He opens with the age old question/complaint: “Why do I need all of this theological talk about the Trinity, why can’t I just simply follow Jesus?” His resounding answer is what I have found to be true and that is that following Jesus leads you to the Trinity. Following Jesus leads you to see the Son of God empowered by the Spirit of God in obedience to Father God. The Bible clearly talks about the divinity of the Father, Son and the Spirit—the question is how to we make sense of the three and their claims to divinity, when we believe in one God.
Johnson does not try to solve the mystery of the threeness and the oneness of God, instead he invites us in. He brings in insight from various theologians like the Torrance brothers – who have gone before us on the journey of exploring the Trinity. Reading T.F. Torrance’s Trinitarian Perspectives was a watershed event. In it Torrance states, “God draws near to us in such a way as to draw us near to himself within the circle of his knowing of himself.” In other words, God comes to us in order to draw us into the community of himself.
Johnson’s writing is filled with signposts like this on his own journey, which has inspired me on my journey of exploring the Trinity. God is not singular; he is plural. He exist in a community of persons, in an eternal relationship with love. As Johnson notes, “At the center of the universe is relationship.” At the core of all reality is a love relationship that we are invited into. The doctrine of the Trinity is not man’s attempt to intellectualize the faith. It is certainly a mystery, but it is “God’s way of being God.” It is his self-disclosure. It is his way of showing us himself and the way of life, which is experienced through loving relationship. When we are baptized in the name, the singular name, of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – we are being immersed not only in the water, but into this loving divine relationship of persons.
Join us on this journey.