Resurrecting the Trinity: A Plea to Recover the Wonder and Meaning of the Triune God

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About the Author: 
M. James Sawyer

M. James Sawyer (Ph.D., Dallas Theological Seminary) has taught theology, church history, and historical theology for more than twenty-five years. He is professor at A. W. Tozer Seminary and director of Sacred Saga Ministries. He is the author of The Survivor's Guide to Theology, Taxonomic Charts of Theology and Biblical Studies, and co-author (with Daniel B. Wallace and J. Ed Komoszewski) of Reinventing Jesus: How Contemporary Skeptics Miss the Real Jesus and Mislead Popular Culture.


About the Book

Resurrecting the Trinity explains the fuzziness and apathy surrounding the concept of the Trinity, and it provides a fascinating and erudite journey as to how they got to be this way. Sawyer presents a passionate call to embrace the significance of the Trinity in theology, worship, and everyday life. The book succeeds in showing the wonder of the Trinity in all aspects of life. The reader will behold the majesty and love of God in ways unimaginable. 

Here are a few words from the author: “The existence of God as Trinity was the central affirmation of the ancient church and the truth from which all other theological understanding flowed. However, for us Western Christians (both Protestant and Catholic) the Trinity has faded into obscurity, the light shed by its reality dimmed to the point of nearly flickering out. While we still verbally affirm the truth of the Trinity, for all practical purposes we have lost its meaning, and in the process lost the biblical picture of Jesus Christ as Lord of creation as well. Were we to deny the Trinity altogether, it is doubtful much would change in our churches on a day-to-day basis.

“From a formal theological perspective we affirm the Trinity—but the practical reality is that we haven’t got a clue why it matters. We may be told that God exists as Trinity, but this truth remains an abstraction, a concept that is never unpacked. Those who communicate this doctrine usually have no clue as to its importance themselves. The loss of the reality of the Trinitarian vision is a contributing factor in the fractured nature of contemporary western Christianity. If we don’t understand this fundamental reality about God, how can we relate to him in truth?

“Over the next several chapters we will look first at some of the prevailing understandings of who God is in contemporary Western society. We then look back at the issue that first gave rise to Trinitarian understanding—the presence of Jesus on earth. This is developed in the subsequent chapters outlining early church attempts to articulate the relationship between the Father and the Son (and the Spirit). In the last two chapters we look at the way God has made and continues to make himself known in the world through the Son and the Spirit. Finally, we will conclude by drawing all this together into a whole.”


1.  The Trinity: Why Is It Important?

2. The God Boxes: Seven False Views of God

3. Jesus: The Way into the Trinity

4. God, Three-in-One

5.  The Son of the Father

6.  The Holy Spirit


Appendix:  He, She, or It: Gender and the Holy Spirit


“The Trinity has rightly come in for sustained attention over the past few decades, as theologians have relearned what we had nearly forgotten; namely, that the Trinity is the ground and grammar of all theology. It is now time for high Trinitarian theology to be translated into language for the churches, and that is what Dr. Sawyer is doing in this book. In simple language he explains complex realities and shows why the doctrine of the Trinity is deeply relational and issues out of and then back into rich and intimate worship.”

—Myk Habets, Dean of Faculty, Head of Carey Graduate School, and Lecturer in Systematic Theology, Carey Baptist College (New Zealand)

“Without a doubt, although Trinitarian discussions abound in the academia today, the doctrine of the Trinity remains to be highly misunderstood, consciously marginalized, and ignorantly unappreciated by many Christians in the local church. Sawyer makes a passionate appeal to give the doctrine of the Trinity a chance. By intentionally looking at it, he asserts, we will come to appreciate its internal splendor and its many personal, soteriological, and missional implications. Sawyer invites us to prepare ourselves to be dazzled by a beauty that our eyes often fail to notice. Resurrecting the Trinity addresses the most common (mis)understandings and answers the most common questions related to the doctrine. The book’s practical approach makes it like a trinitarian FAQ page.”

—Dick O. Eugenio, Associate Professor of Theology at Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary, Philippines; author of Communion with the Triune God

“Sawyer’s theologically meaty book, Resurrecting the Trinity, is not for the fainthearted.  Sawyer means to confront modern misconceptions about God, ones which cut across numerous denominational lines. In his own words, ‘Failure to come to grips with the Trinity as persons in eternal self-giving relationships of love is perhaps the greatest failure of the Western church.’ Sawyer tackles this problem head-on, digging into Scripture with the help of early church fathers and theologians. Resurrecting the Trinity is a helpful introduction to nuances in Trinitarian thought for the serious Christian reader.”

—Victor Kuligin, Academic Dean and Lecturer, Bible Institute of South Africa

“To paraphrase Augustine, nothing is as arduous, adventurous, or advantageous as grappling with the Trinity. In this spirit, we vigorously go to the mat for the reasonableness of the doctrine. But frequently we get tied in knots when wrestling with its ramifications for life. With careful instruction and insightful cues, Sawyer ingrains in us a Trinitarian reflex that will strain every sinew of our worship, work, and walk. Indeed, he pushes us to constantly and comprehensively maneuver as one with the Three-in-One.”

—J. Ed Komoszewski, Coauthor, Reinventing Jesus and Putting Jesus in His Place