Reformed Baptist Fellowship

Leading Sinners to Christ

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on June 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Prepared by Grace, for Grace

I trust that all of us desire to lead sinners to Christ in the most biblical and God honoring way possible. I’m sure that all who read this blog want to be used of the Lord to bring their unsaved friends and family members to Jesus. But how do we do this and from whom can we learn? This is where I have been extremely helped by Joel Beeke and Paul Smalley’s new book entitled Prepared by Grace, For Grace. This work teaches us from the great Puritans themselves how to do this most noble work in a way that squares with Scripture. Not only is this volume a helpful clarification on what the Puritans taught about this matter and a great antidote to much of the easy believism that is so rampant in our day, but it is also a prod to do the work of spreading the glorious gospel to the lost.

The publisher describes the book like this:

Few teachings of the Puritans have provoked such strong reactions and conflicting interpretations as their views on preparing for saving faith. Many twentieth-century scholars dismissed preparation as a prime example of regression from the Reformed doctrine of grace for a man-centered legalism. In Prepared by Grace, for Grace, Joel Beeke and Paul Smalley make careful analysis of the Puritan understanding of preparatory grace, demonstrate its fundamental continuity with the Reformed tradition, and identify matters where even the Puritans disagreed among themselves. Clearing away the many misconceptions and associated accusations of preparationism, this study is sure to be the standard work on how the Puritans understood the ordinary way God leads sinners to Christ.

Here is what Derek Thomas writes about it:

“I can think of no abler team of writers in the world today to tackle the important issue of preparatory grace, with all of its attendant law-gospel implications, than Joel Beeke and Paul Smalley. As with legalism, preparatory grace suffers from verbal abuse partly through ignorance of the real issues, and partly through prejudice for its supposed attempt to usurp gospel grace. Beeke and Smalley have provided us with a plethora of historical and theological material to enable us to walk through this controversial but important issue. It has been suggested that to understand the relationship between law and gospel is to be a theologian; on this score, these authors are theologians par excellence.

More information on Prepared by Grace can be viewed here:

http://www.heritagebooks.org/prepared-by-grace-for-grace-the-puritans-on-gods-way-of-leading-sinners-to-christ/

And here

http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2013/06/leading-sinners-to-christ.php

Rob Ventura

  1. This book is highly informative on an area that is rarely discussed, even among the most Reformed and doctrinal people I know. This is the first book I have seen that addresses the idea of preparatory grace. To that end, Beeke and Smalley do an excellent job of explaining and exploring the most important concepts regarding preparatory grace. What is preparatory grace? What is the distinction between sorrow over sin for the punishment it merits and true saving repentance? How does the Reformed position differ from the Catholic and Arminian positions? All of these questions, and more, are answered deeply and clearly by this book. This book increased my understanding of the how God ordinarily prepares a sinner to come to saving grace, that it usually occurs through the humbling weight of the Law to bring to the knowledge of sin. I also thought the book did an excellent job of clarifying that though it is by grace that we are saved, this does not absolve the sinner of the responsibility of responding to the gospel once his heart has been prepared by grace to receive it.

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