Both of these things are true:
I have spent my entire life in the church.
I didn’t really know the traditional view of the doctrine of God until the last couple of years.
And here’s the sad thing: I am not in any way unique.
For many years now, various species of Social Trinitarianism have been ascendant in American Protestantism. Amongst progressives, you find a doctrine of God in which God reflects the diversity of his creation and is embraced in an eternal (and quite possibly progressing) dance. Amongst conservatives, you find a doctrine of God which explains our own longing for community—because God exists in a community, the line goes—and, more alarming still, explains the nature of male and female relationships. By anchoring their teaching on gender in the alleged eternal submission of the Son, well-intentioned evangelicals have implicitly taught tritheism for many years.
Having grown up with an evangelicalism that was simply part of that latter world, I never really understood the problem with ESS or even lazy assertions that human beings need community because they’re made in the image of a God who exists in community.
Thankfully, the last several years have helped to clarify these questions for me immensely. Many of the people who have been most helpful to me are featured in a new volume we are producing over at the Davenant Institute. The title is God of Our Fathers. It includes essays from Hillsdale College’s E. J. Hutchinson, Mere Fidelity host Alastair Roberts, and a number of other fine scholars.
If you have followed the trinitarian debate of the past few years (helpfully recapped by Dr. Cleveland over on the main page), then you may at some point have been looking for a basic presentation of the traditional view. We hope that this book can be that entry point—an explanation of classical theism as well as something that explains why this issue is of such central concern for all Christians.