One God in Three Persons: Unity of Essence, Distinction of Persons, Implications for Life

One God in Three Persons: Unity of Essence, Distinction of Persons, Implications for LifeI’m excited to point out a new book from Crossway that tackles some of the issues facing the doctrine of the Trinity today: One God in Three Persons: Unity of Essence, Distinction of Persons, Implications for Life. I had the privilege of contributing a chapter with my good friend Andy Naselli. Our chapter, “An Examination of Recent Arguments against Eternal Hierarchy in the Trinity” (tentative title), evaluates some of the philosophical arguments against the notion of hierarchy in the immanent Trinity and finds them unpersuasive.

Here’s the book’s description:

How do the three persons of the Trinity relate to each other? Evangelicals continue to debate this complex concept—especially its implications for our understanding of men and women’s roles in both the home and the church. Offering a comprehensive exposition of the complementarian perspective, this book combines the insights of fifteen prominent evangelical scholars1 who examine the issue from exegetical, theological, historical, and pastoral perspectives. The contributors to this volume have written one of the most substantive treatises to date, defending the eternal submission of the Son and Spirit to the Father with a wide array of persuasive evidences.

Bruce Ware and John Starke edited the volume, and eleven others—Wayne Grudem, Jim Hamilton, Scott Oliphint, Michael Haykin, Jeffrey Robinson, Robert Letham, Michael Ovey, Andy Naselli, Chris Cowan, Kyle Claunch, and I—contributed chapters.

It’s projected to be released in April of 2015, but it’s available for pre-order now.

Since the doctrine of the Trinity is one of my favorite areas of study, I’m looking forward to this book’s release and reading the chapters from the other contributors. If you get a chance to read it, I’d love to hear your feedback on our chapter.

If this topic interests you, you may want to check out some of my previous blog posts related to hierarchy in the Trinity:2

  1. Ware–Grudem vs. McCall–Yandell on the Trinity
  2. My Question for Dr. Yandell
  3. Does Eternal Subordination Entail a Denial of Homoousion?
  4. Does the McCall–Yandell Argument Work? Feinberg Says No
  5. The Failed Strategy of Trinity and Subordinationism
  6. Essential Equality and Functional Subordination: A Complementarian Novelty?
  7. Hierarchy Does Not Necessitate Opposition
  8. Warfield on Eternal Subordination in the Trinity
  9. Barth on the Son’s Subordination to the Father
  10. Gunton on Taxis in the Trinity
  11. John Frame on 1 Corinthians 15:28 and Eternal Subordination
  12. Moulton on 1 Corinthians 15:28
  13. The Father = The Trinity

For more on the Trinity, see also these posts:

  1. The Doctrine of the Trinity in Five Theses
  2. How Do the Father, Son, and Spirit Differ?
  3. Are the Father, Son, and Spirit Equally Persons?
  4. Is the Trinity One ‘What’ and Three ‘Who’s’?
  5. Warfield, Vos, and Van Til: Is God One Person?
  6. Are You a Practical Modalist?
  7. Review of Father, Son and Spirit: The Trinity and John’s Gospel by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Scott R. Swain
  8. To Him Be Glory Forever
  9. Intratrinitarian Reconciliation?

Update: Crossway gave Andy permission to share a PDF our article. It’s available on Andy’s site.


  1. I count only thirteen. I’m not sure who numbers fourteen and fifteen are. And “prominent evangelical scholars” is probably an overstatement, especially since it would seem to include me.
  2. You may also want to check out a similar work published by Wipf and Stock a couple of years ago called The New Evangelical Subordinationism? Perspectives on the Equality of God the Father and God the Son. It includes essays from both sides of the debate. Unfortunately, it’s expensive.

7 Responses to One God in Three Persons: Unity of Essence, Distinction of Persons, Implications for Life

  1. Mark Ward August 25, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

    Neato, Phil! I’ll definitely take a look.

  2. makram zaki shenouda October 3, 2014 at 8:41 am #

    In the original language: The global ancient Greek, the word was: Hypostatis, which means the absolute base, or the base which the thing could not exist without it.

    So the translation of : “Person”, does not match the original word exactly, the only God is one Person in three Hypostatise, i,e: in three absolute bases.

    In the Coptic church, we did not translate that word into Coptic language, when it was translated about the 2nd or 3rd century, but it was kept as it is: Hypostatis, and when the Arabs occupied Egypt and the language of Egypt was converted to the Arab language, also the Copts did not translate that word to an arabic word, but we use now an old Syrianic word, sounds in arabic like that meaning also: “who is the absolute basis” .

  3. Ryan J October 16, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    I am very much excited for the release of this book!

  4. Mike Pettit October 29, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

    Will it be available in Logos, if so I will but it if for no other reason that I am so happy that you have updated your blog. It is rare that I buy a print theology book these days.

  5. Ched January 8, 2015 at 7:48 am #

    Thanks for this note. I’m looking forward to this volume (and y’all’s essay).

  6. Adam Omelianchuk May 21, 2015 at 5:56 am #

    I would love to read the chapter you and Andy wrote. Do you have a pre-published copy available anywhere?

    • Phil Gons May 24, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

      Andy got permission from Crossway to share a PDF of our article. You can grab it from his site.