This current blog series on Reflections is intended to encourage Christians to read more vigorously by providing a beginner’s guide to some of the Christian classics in such fields as theology, philosophy, and apologetics. Hopefully, a brief introduction to these important Christian texts will motivate today’s believers—as St. Augustine was called to in his dramatic conversion to Christianity—to “take up and read” (Latin: Tolle lege) these classic books.
This week’s book, Our Triune God, is by Christian theologian Peter Toon and is, in my estimation, a contemporary treasure on the doctrine of the Trinity. Toon’s work is by far the best contemporary book I’ve read concerning the triune nature of God. This sophisticated yet readable book provides a biblical, theological, and historical presentation of orthodox Trinitarianism.
Why Is This Author Notable?
Peter Toon (1939–2009) was an evangelical Anglican priest and theologian. Earning his doctorate from the University of Oxford, Toon was an expert in historical theology and lectured at more than 50 Christian institutions worldwide. He was an able defender of historic Christianity and promoted a traditional or theologically conservative form of Anglicanism. Toon was especially well known for his promotion of the Book of Common Prayer.
What Is This Book About?
A prolific author of more than 30 books, Toon’s work Our Triune God presents, explains, and defends the orthodox view of the Trinity. Divided into four parts and twelve individual chapters, this book offers a general biblical and theological introduction to all things Trinitarian.
Toon begins by exploring the understanding of God offered in Judeo-Christian theism (Hebrew: Yahweh-Elohim). He skillfully explains the biblical basis of the Trinity (appealing to both the Old and New Testaments) and discusses how this critical doctrine was understood and defined within Christian church history. Crucial to Toon’s theological discussion is how the various church councils and creeds understood and defined Trinitarian theology.
In a clear and careful manner, Toon provides a biblical, theological, and apologetic portrayal of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. This work also distinguishes how the Trinitarian view of God differs from other popular conceptions of deity. Lastly, Toon draws together a theological orthodoxy with a rich devotional commitment to knowing and worshiping the one God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Peter Toon reflects concern on how little today’s Christians have learned about the triune nature of God:
Apparently most people who attend church services today have never heard a sermon expounding the doctrine of the Blessed, Holy, and Undivided Trinity—the transcendent, living God, Yahweh-Elohim, worshiped by Christians through the centuries. Further, they have had either little or no instruction in the importance, or the actual content, of this doctrine of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity.1
Why Is This Book Worth Reading?
Our Triune God is unique among books about the Trinity for its clarity, theological sophistication, historical understanding, and faithfulness to the teachings of Scripture. Both laymen and scholars will receive a lot from reading and studying this rich theological volume. I hope many Christians will use this work to grow in their understanding of and devotional commitment to the triune God of the Bible.