Book Notice: The Quest for the Trinity

Stephen R. Holmes
The Quest for the Trinity: The Doctrine of God in Scripture, History, and Modernity
Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2012.
Available at

This semester I’m teaching “Doctrine of God and Work of Christ.”  I do two lectures on the Trinity. I enjoy teaching on the topic, esp. because so many students are, in practice, either “Jesus monists” or “unitarians.” The challenge is to cultivate a trinitarian theology and a trinitarian spirituality in our churches. In this context, I found Stephen Holmes’ book to be a very useful book and one I will recommend to students. The blurb to the book reads:

In The Quest for the Trinity, Holmes takes us on a remarkable journey through 2,000 years of the Christian doctrine of God. We witness the church’s discovery of the Trinity from the biblical testimony, its crucial patristic developments, and medieval and Reformation continuity. We are also confronted with the questioning of traditional dogma during the Enlightenment, and asked to consider anew the character of the modern Trinitarian revival. Holmes’s controversial conclusion is that the explosion of theological work in recent decades claiming to recapture the heart of Christian theology in fact deeply misunderstands and misappropriates the traditional doctrine of the Trinity. Yet his aim is constructive: to grasp the wisdom of the past and, ultimately, to bring a clearer understanding of the meaning of the present.

There were two chapters that I particularly enjoyed and they were the review of modern trinitarian theology (chapter 1) and the survey of early patristic developments on the Trinity (chapter 3). Otherwise, this is an enjoyable and beneficial book that explains why the Trinity is vital to Christian doctrine. Worth reading or getting your students to read.

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