Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective features six highly respected scholars from schools such as Erskine Theological Seminary, Talbot School of Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. These scholars address an issue that has a significant impact on the way Christians should approach everyday evangelism but is often ignored: the fundamental fact that the Savior who died on the cross and rose from the dead is the eternal second person of the Trinity.
The Christian church has confessed this truth since the early centuries, but many modern theologies have denied or ignored its implications. To clarify the complex issue, these writers approach “post-Chalcedonian” (451 AD) Christology from a variety of disciplines—historical, philosophical, systematic, and practical—thoroughly examining the importance of keeping Jesus Christ in Trinitarian perspective.
“The Christian doctrine of atonement describes reconciliation between the holy God and fallen man. The Christian doctrine of the incarnation confesses that the complete divine nature and perfect human nature are united in the person of Jesus Christ. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity affirms that the one God exists eternally as three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” (Page 8)
“Each divine person is constituted by (1) the essential nature of Deity (‘the Word was God’), that is, the attributes (ousia) that distinguish God from creation; (2) full self-consciousness (‘I Am’), the actual reality of self distinct from other persons, which in turn presupposes mental properties and internal relations; (3) unique relatedness (‘the Word was with God’), distinguishing each member of the Godhead from the others in I-thou relationships; and (4) perichoresis (‘I am in the Father and the Father in me’), the mutual indwelling of each in the other without confusion of self-consciousness.” (Pages 52–53)
“the controversy was fundamentally about whether God the Logos was personally involved in human experience” (Page 88)
“My definition of a social model of the Trinity is that the one divine Being eternally exists as three distinct centers of consciousness, wholly equal in nature, genuinely personal in relationships, and each mutually indwelling the other.” (Pages 47–48)
“Scripture’s record of God’s revelation in human history (‘the economic Trinity’) should inform and control how we think about the eternal relations of the Godhead (‘the immanent Trinity’).” (Page 47)
The doctrine of the Trinity, as expressed in the classic creeds of the early church, was the necessary theological expression of two nonnegotiable biblical affirmations—the Old Testament declaration, “God is One” and the New Testament confession, “Jesus is Lord”. This superb collection of essays by evangelical scholars unpacks this great truth by giving the lie to the false dichotomy between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. A great primer in historical theology!
—Timothy George, (Th. D., Harvard University) founding dean and professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, executive editor of Christianity Today, and author of Theology of the Reformers
For a careful look at how Jesus has been understood theologically in the church, Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective is a solid walk through what is often dense terrain. There is much to ponder here. I am pleased to recommend it.
—Darrell Bock (Ph. D., The University of Aberdeen), research professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary, and author of Jesus According to Scripture and Studying the Historical Jesus.
Fred Sanders is assistant professor of Theology in the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University in La Mirada, California.
Klaus Issler is professor of Christian Education and Theology at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California.