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Trinity & Reality: An Introduction to the Christian Faith [Paperback]

By Ralph A. Smith (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   226
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 0.51"
Weight:   0.72 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 23, 2008
Publisher   Canon Press
ISBN  1591280249  
EAN  9781591280248  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The Trinity is the heart of the Christian gospel, but Father, Son, and Holy Spirit seldom occupy that position in contemporary discussions of the Christian worldview. This book helps fill the need by unveiling the Trinity at the center of reality. Ralph Smith shows how Trinitarian life shapes covenants, creation, revelation, miracle, kingdom, self, church, and eternity. He compares the Trinity to opposing viewpoints, including secularism and other religions, highlighting the practical implications of Trinitarian and non-Trinitarian views for the individual and society. This book provides basic training for all Christians, especially students, high school and up, who desire to transform the foundations of culture.

Publishers Description
The Trinity is the heart of the Christian gospel, but Father, Son, and Holy Spirit seldom occupy that position in contemporary discussions of the Christian worldview. This book helps fill the need by unveiling the Trinity at the center of reality. Ralph Smith shows how Trinitarian life shapes covenants, creation, revelation, miracle, kingdom, self, church, and eternity. He compares the Trinity to opposing viewpoints, including secularism and other religions, highlighting the practical implications of Trinitarian and non- Trinitarian views for the individual and society. This book provides basic training for all Christians, especially students, high school and up, who desire to transform the foundations of culture. Ralph Smith (M.Div. Grace Theological Seminary) is pastor of Mitaka Evangelical Church in Tokyo, Japan and serves as director of the Covenant Worldview Institute. See his online articles at He and his wife Sylvia have three children, all with Hebrew names. But they live in Tokyo.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Profound Insight: The Trinity as Worldview  Dec 17, 2007
This is a book to be savored. Ralph Smith examines the profound implications of the doctrine of the Trinity by going beyond proof-texts and historical argument to the heart of the doctrine. The thesis is that the Trinity both implies and defines a complete Christian worldview, and Rev. Smith goes straight to the bottom line, explaining the significance of the Trinity for virutually every aspect of Christian life and doctrine. Smith has enough ideas for many volumes, but he honors the reader laying down the outlines of his ideas in a bare in a minimum of space. I have already read this book twice, and I can foresee see many more readings to come. Read it and marvel at the glory of God.
Masterful Introduction to a Christian Worldview  Oct 11, 2005
In his book Trinity & Reality, Ralph Smith ably accomplishes the purpose he set for himself from the beginning: "In this book we will explore the meaning of the doctrine of the Trinity for the Christian worldview, aiming at an exposition of the Christian understanding of the world that is both biblical and God-centered, and also ... clear and practical, with strong implications for the Christian life" (xiii). Besides one's understanding of the world, Smith uses the word "worldview" to signify a "way of life," "the story of the world" and of God's people, "aesthetics," "religious sensibility," and "attitude on life" (xiii). Thus, for Smith, the doctrine of the Trinity is not just a doctrine; it is a truth that encompasses all aspects of reality.

Smith begins by outlining the basics of the biblical teaching of the Trinity. Perhaps more than any other doctrine, the Trinity is universally affirmed by all branches of Christ's church. Thus, this book may be profitably read by Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant Christians. Smith states that the Trinity may be established from Scripture by proving the following five propositions: "there is one God; the Father is God; the Son is God; the Spirit is God; and the Father, Son, and Spirit are distinguishable persons in relationship with one another" (3). The doctrine of the Trinity must be discovered in Scripture and believed by faith rather than arrived at by reason. Scripture, therefore, is the key. "God's revelation in His Word is our ultimate standard for judging all that we know and learn, while it presupposes that God is revealing Himself in every thing that He created and in the process of history as well" (14).

Based upon his brief introduction to the biblical basis of the Trinity, Smith spends the rest of book exploring its implications in every realm of truth. Though the doctrine of the Trinity may seem difficult or even contradictory, "truth is an entirely rational and perfect system, for God cannot contradict Himself" (17). God as Trinity is a personal God, interacting in fellowship within Himself. Christianity is the only religion whose God is not only absolute but also personal. Thus, God Himself is the ground of all personal virtues like righteousness, faithfulness, and goodness. For instance, "righteousness for the triune God means that each of the persons respects and preserves the boundaries of the others" (19).

Probably the best portion of Smith's book is in Chapters 3, in which he explores the truth that "what God does in history reveals who He is in eternity" (31). The nature of God is the foundation of all earthly relationships. In God, the essence or bond of the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is love. "God's covenant love for His people reflects something deeper and more wonderful: the eternal self-denying love that each of the Persons of the Trinity has for the others" (38). Men who live in a covenant relationship with God indwell within God and God within them. "God in His saving grace brings His people into that same covenantal love that is shared by the Persons of the Trinity" (45). Also, highly significant in this regard is Smith's work on the essence of a worldview, which I would categorize into metaphysics (transcendence), priority (hierarchy), ethics (commandments), epistemology (sanctions), and teleology (succession).

Throughout the rest of the book Smith discusses many issues that may be traced directly to one's worldview. He demonstrates the superiority of the Christian view of the origin of the world over the Big Bang theory. His view of Christian cosmogony is essentially covenantal. "The covenantal meaning of the world, then, is that the world is the love gift of the Father through the Spirit to the Son. It is an expression of the covenantal fellowship of love in the Trinity, an aspect of their mutual enjoyment of one another" (58). This understanding also establishes a symbolic view of reality. Furthermore, Smith discusses God's purpose for creation, His revelation of Himself to creation, and God's work in history-including the "problem" of evil, miracles, the incarnation, the gospel, the kingdom of God, and the great commission. Each of these issues is properly understood only within a Christian, Trinitarian world.

Smith continues by describing the significance of the Trinity to an individual's role in society. He answers questions that concern the relationship between an individual and the society in which he lives. He states, "our self-who we are-is determined by our relationships, just as the three Persons of the Trinity are who they are in their mutual relationships" (163). He speaks of the covenantal institutions that God has established in the family, the church, and the state. To end, Smith deals with the issues concerning eternity: hell, heaven, and eschatology. Only as the Christian understands these topics in relation to the Trinity can he adequately live consistently with the biblical teaching. Our understanding of who God is and our relationship with God as Father, Son, and Spirit guide us in our expectation of heaven and the end of time. "The enjoyment of God includes the enjoyment of all the things He created and of every gift He gives. ... Every biblical expression that points to the fullness of our salvation leads us to contemplate the greatness and wonder of God Himself. In order for us to enjoy and glorify Him as we should, Paul tells us that we will be made like Him" (201).

Without a doubt this book is foundational to a completely and distinctively biblical worldview. Especially for those who are not yet familiar with thinking in presuppositional or worldview terms, Trinity & Reality demonstrates that everything a Christian knows and does finds its source in our God. Highly recommended for Christians from all traditions!
The Reality of Trinity  Mar 30, 2005
From our earliest years in Sunday School, we learn that God is one Being but three Persons. Unfortunately, that is as far as most Christians go in their understanding of the Trinity, the best known but least understood doctrine of the Christian faith. Thanks to Ralph Smith, there is now an introduction to the Trinity that is readable and accessible to the average lay person.

In Trinity & Reality, Smith shows how the truths behind the Trinity affect our understanding of God, ourselves, our families, and our communities, and how these truths shape our overall view and understanding of the world, even though most of us are totally unaware of how the reality of the Trinity affects us. Smith peels away our layers of ignorance to help us see that faith in the revealed truth of the Bible is the basis for judging everything we know. And the central truth of the Bible is that God is Three in One.

Although written for a popular audience, T&R will stretch the mind in places as, for example, when Smith discusses the philosophical problem of the "one and the many," or delves into the deeper implications of cosmogony and cosmology. Smith even takes us on a journey through comparative religion and opposing worldviews to show us the more excellent way of the Christian faith. This book also shocks with its graphic description of the reality of hell. We can be thankful, however, that Smith follows this harrowing account with a beautiful depiction of the trinitarian meaning of heaven.

Ralph Smith has written an excellent book on the basic foundations of trinitarian thought and understanding. You should buy this book and read it if you want to know why the world is the way it is.
Knowing God  Jan 13, 2005
Trinity and Reality is helpful because it shows the meaning of the doctrine of the Trinity for the Christian life. Smith not only explains what the Trinity is, but how it is important for a Christian day by day. Now I know how many different doctrines in the Christian faith are related to the Trinity and how much of my daily life and worship is influenced by this wonderful truth.
Behold your God!  Jan 6, 2005
"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Messiah, of Whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Messiah may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Messiah, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."

The book under review is a partial answer to Paul's prayer. Ralph Smith's "Trinity and Reality: An Introduction to the Christian Faith" (this site's current subtitle, "An Introduction to the Christian Worldview," is incorrect but nevertheless accurate as a description) deserves high praise as an introduction to the Christian faith and its fullest expression in trinitarian covenantal theology. Although Trinity and Reality (T&R) breaks no truly new ground theologically (and that should be reassuring, considering that the Christian faith has been self-consciously founded on trinitarian belief for the past 2000 years), it performs a valuable service in helping us to see important (albeit heretofore woefully neglected) connections among, and profound implications deriving from, 1) God's eternal trinitarian existence, 2) the eternal covenantal (love) bond of the Persons of the Godhead, and 3) our covenantal existence as God's image-bearers in both time and eternity.

Despite its relative brevity and popular presentation (most teenagers could read it profitably), I found T&R to be, in a certain sense, a "revolutionary" work, because it transformed the way I think about myself, my world, and my God. To my surprise, it turned out to be one of the most awe-inspiring books I have ever read. Smith's overriding aim is for lucidity and I have never thought of him as a particularly "moving" writer. But for any Christian reader, the gaining of new theological insights is always inherently exciting, especially when they pertain directly to our understanding of God Himself. In the Bible, ever since the fall, whenever people were confronted with the glory of God's immediate presence, their first reaction was instantaneous prostration in fear: even God's covenant people are utterly overwhelmed by the Divine presence. ("Thou canst not see My face: for there shall no man see Me and live.") I have been an eager student of theology and the Bible since becoming a Christian 20 years ago, and the fact that this little "introduction" to the Christian faith could leave me feeling awe-struck testifies to the fact that it succeeds (as far as it goes) in accurately describing the Trinity and in drawing out the implications of covenantal life in our Triune God's universe. I still see through a glass darkly, but a good deal less darkly than before thanks to having read this book. I wish to emphasize, however, that part of what I now see more clearly is the fact that God transcends our comprehension. The things that I have been enabled to comprehend by faith lead me to joyfully accept and confess the truth that remains beyond human comprehension.

T&R could be a powerful tool for Christian apologetics. On the one hand, although Smith is a Protestant, T&R should appeal equally to Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, since the doctrine of the Trinity is perhaps the most fundamental, core doctrine of all Christendom. On the other hand, it is common today for Christian apologists to put forward arguments that are not distinctively trinitarian -- similar arguments could often be made just as easily by proponents of non-Christian monotheistic perspectives. This is a problem, because as Christians contending for the faith in a neopagan culture, we are only interested in converting people to the trinitarian faith, not to Judaism, Islam, quasi-Christian cults, or any other non-trinitarian religious perspective. Smith deftly pulls the rug out from under everything that fails to confess the Trinity. He shows how the universe as it exists could only have come into being through the creative act of the Bible's Triune God, and could neither have resulted from a monadal deity such as that postulated by Judaism and Islam, nor from a pan-deity, many deities, or no deity. Similarly, divine revelation is shown to be possible only for the Triune God of the Bible, and love in human relationships and the very nature of human society can be accounted for only from a trinitarian perspective. By the sheer lucidity of its arguments, T&R serves to remind us that the jihads of the world are no match for the sword that Christ wields with His mouth. If George Bush is really serious about fighting the war on terror, one of his most powerful weapons might be an Arabic translation of T&R, to be distributed online and hopefully read wherever sword evangelism is preached.

T&R is powerful medicine against not only other religious systems, but also against the tenets of post-enlightenment secular humanism. Now that Antony Flew is convinced of the correctness of intelligent design theory, someone should send him a copy of T&R. The first time I read Behe's outstanding "Darwin's Black Box," I remember being struck by the ridiculousness of Behe's notion that the intelligent designer could conceivably be anything other than the Triune God of the Bible, and although T&R doesn't discuss intelligent design theory as such, it makes a good complement to intelligent design arguments against Darwinian macroevolutionary theory. This is because it shows, over and against the claims of post-enlightenment "autonomous" epistemologies (of which Darwinism is one) that only creation by the Triune God of the Bible can adequately account for reality.

In short, because the relationship of "Trinity" to "reality" is something that has received far too little attention in the past, T&R fills an important need. I think many will be seeing through new eyes after reading this book.

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