Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
SBJT 13:2 (Summer 2009) p. 80
The Holy Trinity in Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship. By Robert Letham. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2004, xv + 551pp., $24.99 paper.
Robert Letham has written an excellent and very helpful book on the Trinity. The resurgence of trinitiarian theology and interest in the last two-plus decades has been a good sign. And the time indeed is ripe for a lengthy and robust monograph on the trinity from an evangelical perspective. Letham is pastor of an Orthodox Presbyterian Church, is an adjunct professor of systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, and also teaches at Reformed Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C./Baltimore. Readers may recognize him as the author of The Work of Christ, a volume in IVP’s Contours of Christian Theology series.
Letham’s monograph is divided into four key sections: Biblical Foundations, Historical Development, Modern Discussion, Critical Issues. Two appendices (critiques of Gilbert Bilezikian and Kevin Giles) plus a glossary, bibliography, and scripture, subjects, names appendices close the volume.
The Holy Trinity is undoubtedly the fruit of many years of teaching, both in academic and church settings. It is written from a Reformed perspective, and Letham writes, “To be Reformed is to be truly catholic, biblical, evangelical, and orthodox” (ix). The monograph would serve as an excellent introduction to the doctrine of the Trinity, although an introduction of a particularly detailed sort. The Biblical Foundations section is thorough (70 pages) without getting bogged down. The Historical Development section will be extremely helpful for students of many stripes, as Letham engages in significant detail with the key historical figures/schools of thought in Trinitarian development, ranging from early trinitarianism, through key eastern and western thinkers, and ending with John Calvin. The Modern Discussion section moves from Barth to Thomas F. Torrance, and theological students will be immensely helped by this guide through modern theology. The last section deals with four critical issues: Trinity and Incarnation; Trinity, Worship, and Prayer; Trinity, Creation and Missions; Trinity and Persons.
All throughout the volume, Letham gives evidence of a careful reading of key thinkers past and present, and ranging from Catholic to Orthodox to Protestant, and he engages fairly with thinkers across the conservative to liberal spectrum. The glossary is helpful, and the bibliography is excellent. For thoughtful laypersons or the seasoned scholar, Letham’s The Holy Trinity deserves careful reading.
SBJT 13:2 (Summer 2009) p. 81
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