Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Book Review: Faith Alone

Faith Alone: The Doctrine of Justification. Thomas R. Schreiner. 2015. 284 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: One of the five rallying cries of the Reformation was the statement that we are saved by faith alone — ​sola fide! These words declared that salvation does not come from looking at our own works of righteousness, but from looking outside ourselves to another, to the person and work of Jesus Christ. This statement grew out of a desire to return to the biblical text and to the teachings of the early church fathers, a cry to reform the church and return it to biblical orthodoxy. I believe that the Reformation cry of sola fide should continue to be taught and treasured today because it summarizes biblical teaching, and God’s Word never loses its transforming power. The Word of God speaks in every era and in every place.

Premise/plot: Faith Alone is the first in a five-book-series celebrating the Protestant Reformation. Each book has a different author. Faith Alone is by Thomas R. Schreiner. In his own words: "In this book I attempt to tour the historical teaching of the church, explain the scriptural teaching on justification, and provide some sense of contemporary relevance." The book is divided into three sections: "A Historical Tour of Sola Fide," "A Biblical and Theological Tour of Sola Fide," and "Contemporary Challenges to Sola Fide."

My thoughts: I'll start with the good news. Each chapter has a clear-and-obvious introduction and conclusion. He tells you exactly what the chapter will be about at the beginning. At the end, he sums the chapter up tidily reminding you exactly what his points were.

Unfortunately, the introductions and conclusions were the only parts that I was able to grasp. It wasn't the subject matter that made it dense and hard to read. It wasn't. The subject can--and often is--presented in a way that is for everyone. There are books on the subject that feel almost like a devotional because they are packed with rich insights and shining gospel truths. There are books on the subject that can lift the weight of the world off your shoulders. There is something liberating and freeing and GLORIOUS and WONDERFUL on the subject of justification by faith alone. It wasn't the subject. It was the style.

I was not the right audience for this book...apparently.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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