Mark Powell, professor at Harding School of Theology in Memphis wrote an excellent book just over a year ago titled, “Centered in God: The Trinity and Christian Spirituality.” Dr. Powell has spent a lot of time studying and teaching Christian doctrine and systematic theology and along with that the trinity. This post kicks off giving away three copies of this excellent book and reviews the book to give you an idea of what it is all about.
We are giving away three copies of the book to those who comment on this post. You don’t have to have any elaborate comment or reflection…just “check in” via the comments to let us know you want in on the random drawing and we will draw 3 winners on Friday!
Powell’s contention in the book is that the Trinity doesn’t really impact Christian teaching or living in many meaningful ways…that to drop the Trinity we wouldn’t really see much of anything change even among those who recite things like the Nicene Creed on a regular basis which affirms the Trinity. So lip service is paid to the God who is three-in-one but what should that mean to us in any sort of practical way and what are we missing out on by not spending more time educating people on God’s nature?
This book is helpful in several areas. First, it gives you quite a bit of history of the Trinity in the early church and in the New Testament itself. It discusses the early church heresies, the creeds and formation of the canon and how the doctrine of the Trinity played a role in those things. It gives you descriptions of various view points on the nature and character of God and why the Trinitarian approach is the best fit for what we have in scripture, finding balance between God’s unity and diversity.
Last and most important, this book is a meditation on God. It is written not just to inform you of more facts, while it does that well and that is necessary, but to help you draw closer to God himself. The meditation section of this book takes up the majority of the content. It covers so much of what it means to be a Christian and to live in Christian community. In covering these topics, Dr. Powell does a great job of weaving in the New Testament content about God’s work in these areas of our Christian lives and even in creation itself through his various “persons” in the Trinity. His illustrations are on point and the application is solid as well. How we conceive of God matters and informs so much of the way we live.
When reviewing any type of content I like to try to add one weakness or area that could have been improved. The only thing I would have added to this book would be some meditative exercises to go with each topic. What are some ways that we could purposefully meditate on what it means to be the church or the people of God from a Trinitarian perspective? The content is there and we are left to ourselves to reflect on what was written. That is well and good, even typical. I just think the book would have an extra punch to it with that added piece. Perhaps that is just my own laziness!