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Posts Tagged ‘Henry Scougal’


Earlier this year I made a sad discovery.  I discovered that I have no books on the Trinity.  I have plenty of Systematic Theologies with sections on the Trinity.  The closest thing to a book on the Trinity in my library was probably J.I. Packer’s Knowing God.  While not on the Trinity, as an heir to the Puritans he was quite Trinitarian in his theological approach.  So, in the words of Uncle Duncan in Braveheart, “We’ll have to rectify that.”

“Forget the Trinity and you forget why we do what we do; you forget who we are as gospel Christians; you forget how we got to be like we are.”

One of the books I bought to remedy that was Fred Sanders’ book The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything.  I’m on a combination of vacation and study leave, so I thought this was a good time to read it.  I’d have a bit more time to think on it.

Prior to leaving on vacation the guy who lives with us commented “he keeps talking about evangelicalism”.  Sanders’ point is that Trinitarian thinking has long been foundational to evangelical thinking.  This foundation has been cracking of late as the implicit has been largely forgotten or at least seen as non-essential.  His goal is limited to evangelicalism.  This is the Christian heritage of which he is a part and which he wants to be healthy and growing.  He’s not trying to evaluate and critique other traditions in the visible church.

These means that while Sanders uses Scripture, he’s not putting forth a biblical-theological defense of the Trinity.  He’s more concerned with how our Trinitarianism plays out in our understanding of our faith and practice.  So the reader must keep this focus in mind and not expect something profoundly different.

Sanders does draw on the writings of earlier evangelicals of different stripes to illustrate how deep the heritage runs (and how shallow our present experience).  So you find sections looking at Francis Schaeffer, Susanna Wesley, C.S. Lewis, Adolph Sahpir, Henry Scougal and more.

“A gospel that rearranges the components of your life but does not put you personally in the presence of God is too small.”

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WTS Doesnt Have This???

WTS Doesn't Have This???

Henry Scougal gets to the heart of nominal Christianity in his book The Life of God in the Soul of Man.  This book is foundational for the ministries of such godly men as George Whitefield and John Piper.

“Men are unwilling to quarrel with the religion of their country, and since all their neighbors are Christians, they are content to be so too; but they are seldom at the pains to consider the evidences of those truths, or to ponder the importance and tendency of them; and thence it is that they have so little influence on their affections and practices.  Those ‘spiritless and paralytic thoughts,’ as one doth rightly term them, are not able to move the will, and direct the hand.  We must therefore endeavor to work up our minds to a serious belief and full persuasion of divine truths, unto a sense and feeling of spiritual things: out thoughts must dwell upon them, till we be both convinced of them and deeply affected with them.”

The nominal Christian “accepts” the doctrines of Christianity, but they make no difference in how they live because they do not love Jesus Christ and the doctrines of Christianity.  Their hearts are not moved to worship and obedience.

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