- Andreas J. Köstenberger and Scott R. Swain, Father, Son and Spirit: The Trinity and John's Gospel (IVP, 2008)
- R. Kendall Soulen, The Divine Name(s) and the Holy Trinity: Distinguishing the Voices (WJK, 2011)
There are exceptions to this, of course, as Fred Sanders has recently shown in his remarkably helpful and highly accessible work The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything (Crossway). This book shows not only that evangelicalism is tacitly trinitarian but also how some notable leaders within the tradition (e.g., Susanna Wesley, Nicky Cruz, and Francis Schaeffer) devoted meaningful attention to the doctrine. Nevertheless, these are rare exceptions that reveal an unfortunate feature of evangelical theology.
Second RankSuggested by some as being a legacy of Calvin to locate Scripture at the beginning of doctrinal formulation---as he did in the Institutes---evangelicals have often followed suit, relegating the doctrine of the Trinity to second rank. I suspect this move, along with the doctrine of the Trinity relegated to having primarily apologetic import, has also caused evangelicals to wonder where to locate the doctrine in their own formulation and articulation of the gospel. Recent evangelical publications have tended to belabor this point about the difficulty or inaccessibility or impracticality of the doctrine, thus denying the church the benefits of sustained reflection on the ineffably sublime triune God on the basis of what he has done in Christ. Recent studies within leading evangelical institutions have even defined major stalwarts of late 20th-century evangelicalism as "sub-trinitarian." After surveying the writings of John Stott, Alister McGrath concluded, "There is no sense, at least in Stott, that the Trinity is the cornerstone of evangelical identity." Evangelical organizations like InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and the Evangelical Free Church of America have recently corrected some of this negligence by reasserting the doctrine of the Trinity's primary significance in Christian confession, locating it as the primary article in their respective statements of faith. Some new collaborative organizations (including The Gospel Coalition) have also located the doctrine of the Trinity front and center, a promising move for evangelical confession.
Assumed Then LostThe trinitarian underemphasis has generated some of the confusion that presently exists within evangelicalism, especially among those who otherwise share many core and common doctrinal convictions and commitments. And yet, on a much larger scale, this may be a similar feature to the oft-quoted quip from Don Carson, that when the gospel (in this case: the triune nature of the God of the gospel) is assumed, the passion is lost in proclamation, and could likely be lost within a generation. I shudder to think how long and for how many generations evangelicals have "assumed" the doctrine of the Trinity. While any genuine salvific movement of God in the world always gives birth to trinitarian faith, tacit trinitarianism is not satisfactory for evangelical theology. Instead, the doctrine of the Trinity ought to inform everything---in theology, ministry, ethics, and all of life. This trinitarian paucity may have resulted from evangelicalism's focus on other emphases, such as world evangelism and biblical scholarship. And yet, recent work from a number of missional and biblical theologians has shown strong efforts to be more trinitarian in emphasis and outlook. A leading example is the work of Christopher J. H. Wright and his recent efforts with The Cape Town Commitment. Additionally, the following publications offer some of the best trinitarian engagement in recent years:
- Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Remythologizing Theology: Divine Action, Passion, and Authorship (CUP, 2010)
- Stephen R. Holmes, The Holy Trinity: Understanding God's Life (UK: Paternoster, 2012; US: IVP, 2012)
- Keith E. Johnson, Rethinking the Trinity and Religious Pluralism: An Augustinian Assessment (IVP, 2011)