Tag Archives: Bloomsbury

Sanctified by Grace – The Triune God

Sanctified by Grace (Eilers and Strobel) is an attempt to do theology in a way that involves more than the comprehension of Christian truth, rather it is an attempt to do theology in a way that helps bring about Christian faithfulness.

In their preface to the book Eilers and Strobel write that the normal Christian life is 9780567383433intimately and inescapably theological and that the work of Christian Dogmatics can and should participate in the sanctification of the Holy Spirit who forms Christians in the likeness of Christ.

Having said that they notice that there is often a divide between doctrine and theology on the one side and spirituality and ministry on the other. In this book they hope to help tear down that false dichotomy. In my own opinion the doctrine that they start with fits this theme very well. If there is a doctrine that many Christians see as useless, though true, is the doctrine of the Trinity. Thus inviting Fred Sanders to write a chapter on this topic which gives itself over so easily to this false divide is a great move.

In this chapter Sanders sets our spiritual growth in the middle of a Trinitarian truth, specifically Trinitarian adoption. He argues that believers are adopted into the life between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The eternal begetting of the son stands behind the temporal mission of the Son to save humanity. The Spiration of the Spirit stands behind the Spirit’s work in uniting us to the Father and Son. Thus, the Christian life itself can only be understood in light of the Trinity.

For me the highlight of this chapter included his discussion of how eternal processions give rise to temporal missions. The relationship between these two is often tricky and convoluted. Most theologians intuitively know there is a link, but that link is hard to pin down. Sanders does a good job of explaining the connection without being dogmatic about the “link” between the two.

Another highlight was his discussion of adoption. Sanders does a fine job navigating between the view that our sonship is merely metaphorical and the opposite view that we become totally immersed in the life of God (erasing the creator/creature distinction). Rather by advocating a soteriology of Trinitarian adoption, he is able to maintain our intimacy but distinction from God.

Overall Sanders does a great job of showing how the doctrine of the Christian life is shaped by Trinitarian though, specifically the eternal processions of the Triune God. He succeeds in showing that the Christian life is filial by essence.

 

Sanctified by Grace Week

This week I begin my focus on Kent Eiler and Kyle Strobel’s 2014 book – Sanctified by Grace.

In Sanctified by Grace the editors present a portrait of redeemed Christian existence within the multifaceted and beautiful whole of Christian belief about God, humanity and the world. The book articulates theologically how the Christian life is anchored in God’s grace, specifically his reconciling, justifying, redemptive, restorative and otherwise transformative action. Simply put, to understand the Christian life as a life of grace, you have to first glimpse the gracious One, the God of the gospel.

Over the next week on this blog you will be able to find my interaction with some of my favorite chapters (favorite not necessarily because I “like” them but because I find them to be intellectually and spiritually stimulation) as well as a review of the book.

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As a preview of some of the topics I will be covering, here is the table of contents:

Introduction—The Christian Life in Dogmatic Key • Kent Eilers and Kyle Strobel

Part One—The Gracious One

  1. The Triune God  •  Fred Sanders
  2. The Electing God  •  Suzanne McDonald
  3. The Creating & Providential God  • Katherine Sonderegger
  4. The Saving God  •  Ian McFarland
  5. The Perfecting God  •  Christopher Holmes

Part Two—The Graces of the Christian Life

  1. Reconciliation & Justification  •  John Burgess
  2. Redemption & Victory  •  Christiaan Mostert
  3. Communion with Christ  •  John Webster

Part Three—The Means of Grace

  1. Scripture  •  Donald Wood
  2. Church & Sacraments  •  Tom Greggs

Part Four—The Practices of Grace

  1. Discipleship  •  Philip Ziegler
  2. Prayer  •  Ashley Cocksworth
  3. Theology  •  Ellen Charry
  4. Preaching  •  William Willimon
  5. Forgiveness & Reconciliation  •  D. Stephen Long