Tuesday, May 24, 2011

“Living for God’s Glory” by Dr. Joel R. Beeke

“Living for God’s Glory” by Dr. Joel R. Beeke

“Living for God’s Glory” is an educational book on the Calvinist doctrine that has lead to many of the denominations that we are familiar with today such as the Baptist, Presbyterian, Congregational, and other fine denominations. Calvinism has lead to many great preachers throughout history, including John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, and many others. Yet the main purpose of this book is not only to look at the great achievements of Calvinism, but to focus on the true heart and message of Calvinism as it applies to each person’s everyday life.

In “Living for God’s Glory” Dr. Joel Beeke does not shy away from the 5 points of Calvinism, but embraces them, and carefully constructs his chapter to expound and explain each of these points in a clear and concise manner. However, this book is not for the week of heart. With over 350 pages of reading or so, not including all the links to references the author mentions, this book is still highly academic, and one needs to be willing to take time to read through and be willing to ask questions and seek answers.

What was most fascinating about this book is the purpose of the author. As I said Dr. Beeke gives a great defense of the doctrine of Calvinism, however, he points that Calvinism isn’t only about predestination or election, but instead a teaching of the hope of salvation that can and is only found through Jesus Christ. In this book he points out that many of the viewpoints of Calvinism do not produce hopelessness, as some argue, but that instead there is great hope that is found in the doctrines of Calvinism.

I chose this book primarily because I am very familiar with the great divide that people argue the doctrine of Calvin has lead to throughout the Churches history. I have always considered myself a Calvinist in fact, but said that without a real understanding of the doctrines of Calvin, and also while wrestling with the issue of predestination. In fact, according to this book, I am considered by many Calvinists to be more Armenian in my viewpoint, that election is as a result of the foreknowledge of God almighty, then a Calvinist. I cannot say if this book corrected my view, but it has certainly given me some information for which I can continue to work through this difficult doctrine.

Another main facet of “Living for God’s Glory” is the explanation, and clarifications of the five solas that are such an ingrained part of the Born Again, Evangelical, and Christian church. Although some in the Church today could probably express the solas, they are a teaching that has been substantially forgotten by many of those who at once claimed Jesus Christ. The five solas are, Scripture alone (sola Scriptura), grace alone (sola gratia), faith alone (sola fide), Christ alone (solus Christus), and the glory of God alone (soli Deo gloria). Dr. Beeke handles these topics as clearly as he handles the issue of the 5 points of Calvinism.

The only fault I find with this volume is the intensity of information. Not only is this book written by Dr. Joel Beeke, but also has chapters written by Sinclair Ferguson, James Grier, Michael Haykin, Nelson Kloosterman, Ray Lanning, Robert Oliver, Ray Pennings, and Derek Thomas. It seems to me that sections one and two could easily have been their own single book, and then these additional chapters could have been included in a separate volume. However, each of these chapters is ripe with wonderful information, and has given me a better understanding of Calvinism and Puritanism.

There is so much more that one can discover in this remarkable work by Dr. Joel Beeke. I do not feel as if one could successfully write a great review of this book without giving away, that which makes it so worth the read. The ending chapters have contributions from many great writers as well who add to the beauty of this work. As it is I must rate this book five out of five, and encourage any person who is seeking a true perspective of the doctrines of John Calvin to read this book again and again. As it is I know that it will be a book I read yet again, and one which I will probably use for a reference in many aspects of my spiritual life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Reformation Trust Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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