Sunday, November 05, 2006

Amazon Review of Matthew Alfs' Concepts of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Matthew Alfs has produced a unique and objective work that illuminates both Trinitarian and Non-Trinitarian concepts of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Alfs' work is not only helpful because it clearly states the major creeds of Christendom, but the study superbly defines key terms of Trinitarianism. Of course, Alfs is not content to interpret Trinitarian concepts on his own; rather, he quotes profusely from those who espouse the said tenets. This feature accentuates the approach of this work.

Alfs provides definitions of nomenclature such as "Essence," "substance," "nature," "relation" and "subsistence" from authoritative sources. He systematically unfolds the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Trinitarian concepts. We are treated to an illuminating discussion of eternal generation as it pertains to the Son over against eternal spiration of the Holy Spirit. Alfs argues that Trinitarian dogma does not allow for subordination among the TREIS hUPOSTASEIS or TRES PERSONAE. He cites a few Catholic theologians to buttress his point.

In the second part of the study, Alfs unfolds non-Trinitarian groups. He discusses Jehovah's Witnesses, the Church of God, the Unitarians, Christadelphians and other groups. His book is well-written and very objective. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Alfs' work and it has been used as a reference by this reviewer more times than I care to count. This book has references to scholarly works in the back matter and also contains an index. It is a requisite tool for exploring Trinitarian and non-Trinitarian concepts.

2 comments:

Jeff Downs said...

Have you had a chance to look at Holy Trinity In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship. Robert Letham (P&R, 2004).

Edgar Foster said...

Jeff,

I have read a volumnious amount of Trinitarian literature and I am familiar with Letham's book, but have not read it yet. It is my plan to do so in the near future. Glad you mentioned it here.

Cordially,
Edgar