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Sanctification (2) (New Studies in Dogmatics) Paperback – October 24, 2017
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'Michael Allen believes that the gospel is large enough to cover not only the guilt but the dominion of sin. This volume gives further evidence of the author’s reliability as a faithful steward of the mysteries of God. Learn, mark and inwardly digest this rich feast.' -- Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics Westminster Seminary California ― Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics Westminster Seminary California
'Allen delivers a work of classical Reformed theology. He irenically differentiates the Reformed position on sanctification from some Lutheran positions, through careful biblical exegesis and retrieval of Calvin, Augustine, Berkouwer, and others. From a more traditionally Reformed perspective, Allen here inherits the mantle of John Webster. As a Catholic, I am deeply grateful for Michael Allen’s vision, with the ecumenical conjunctions that it reveals.' -- Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary ― Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
'Holiness is good news, Allen reminds us, for sanctification is all about God sharing his own holiness with us in Christ. As he unpacks this gospel of holiness, Allen presents a marvelous “minor dogmatics,” ranging through a variety of doctrines, and grounding our holiness in the one and only place where it must originate---the eternal being of God himself. Steeped within Reformed catholicity, Allen’s biblical retrieval draws from a wide range of sources: patristic, medieval, and modern. The result is an irenic and deeply thoughtful book.' -- Hans Boersma, J. I. Packer Professor of Theology, Regent College ― Hans Boersma, J. I. Packer Professor of Theology, Regent College
'One of the great strengths of Michael Allen’s work is that he resists the temptation of treating sanctification in isolation; instead, he calls attention to how this vital doctrine draws upon and informs a multitude of other doctrines. Consequently, Allen provides a rich and distinctive account of holiness that certainly deserves our attention and thanks.' -- Kelly M. Kapic, professor of theological studies, Covenant College ― Kelly M. Kapic, professor of theological studies, Covenant College
'In Sanctification, Michael Allen presents a lucid dogmatic portrait of the glorious mystery of new life in Christ. Allen’s book offers a feast for readers to feed upon this truth. Framed in conversation with the best of contemporary scholarship, Allen brings together scriptural exegesis, patristic and Protestant commentary, and wide-ranging theological exposition. Sanctification is a model of biblical, Reformed catholicity, which both breaks new ground and retrieves insights from the past. Highly recommended for students, scholars, and others who hunger for a theological account of sanctification in Christ!' -- J. Todd Billings, Gordon H. Girod Research Professor of Reformed Theology, Western Theological Seminary ― J. Todd Billings, Gordon H. Girod Research Professor of Reformed Theology, Western Theological Seminary
- Paperback : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0310491460
- ISBN-13 : 978-0310491460
- Item Weight : 14.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Zondervan Academic (October 24, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #251,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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While one might limit an account of sanctification to the practical concerns of the everyday Christian life and still have much of value to say, there is tremendous benefit to Allen's presentation of sanctification in an ordered way that begins with God and his acts, and works from there to the reality of sanctification in the lives of creatures. Theology itself is a spiritual discipline, concerned primarily with contemplating, praising, and coming to know the God who sanctifies. Though we might find it counter-intuitive in our busy culture, one of the most practical ways in which we can work out our sanctification is to meditate upon the self-revelation of the Most Holy God. I'm grateful to see a book that treats the topic of sanctification with this kind of dogmatic depth and coherence.
I was particularly intrigued by Allen's compelling and nuanced treatment of grace in the book. John Calvin's concept of the duplex gratia gives structure to much of the text's central material. This is book-ended by a thoughtful defense of the notion that "grace perfects nature," relying heavily on the work of Herman Bavinck.
The author basically offers a review of the content of Sanctification himself. For those wanting to have a more in-depth understanding of the book I will quote him at length. In summary of the volume up to page 199 he writes:
"Sanctification of the creature occurs amidst a broader economy of grace, which can itself be appreciated only with deeper theological reflection upon the principles of its existence and character. Hence we have begun with God himself-–the triune God’s possession of holiness perfectly-–and then turned to the ways in which that holiness has been manifested in the divine works. Those works are communicative works demonstrating not only divine luminosity but also triune generosity as holiness is shared by God with those creatures who are made godly by God’s gifting. We have considered ways in which creation and covenant mark the features of this holy creaturehood before God. But we have also considered the ways in which sin undoes the order of holiness and casts awry the fellowship and presence previously enjoyed by and further promised to the holy ones of God. Finally, we have reflected upon the promise and arrival of the Holy One of Israel in the form of his incarnate Son, the Messiah and redeemer who brings holiness. By considering the work of Christ, both its substitutionary and its transformative facets, we have considered the good news that the God who is holy in himself has acted so as to share the holiness with others and, in Christ Jesus, has given us holiness yet again in spite of our sin, impurity, and uncleanness (p. 199)."
As Allen looks to the final chapters he states:
"Admittedly, we have ranged more widely than might be expected in such a study. We do well now to turn to some matters traditionally tied up with the doctrine of sanctification, that is, with the application of this transformation to individual men and women. Our work this far has located this doctrine amidst the broader corpus of Christian teaching, seeking to see how various doctrines interpenetrate or shape our consideration of holiness in its divine and creaturely forms. Now we must look directly at the subject of regeneration; however, the most helpful reflections upon God’s sanctifying work upon us can be appreciated by viewing it as related to other themes of the gospel economy. The final three chapters of our study, then, will consider sanctification as related to three adjacent theological topics: regeneration and nature, divine sovereignty and human responsibility, and exhortation and divine discipline (through examples and through law) (pp. 199-200)."
Sanctification is a thick, difficult read that is geared far more to the scholar than to the average Bible student. For a recent book directed to the latter, I would recommend The Hole in our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung.
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher, Southern View Chapel