Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 11:1 (Spring 1998)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

The Riddle of Grace. By Scott Hoezee. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996. 164 pp. Paper, $14.00.

What does it mean to be “saved by grace” and then-as a result of that salvation-to live “graciously”? Do Christians know what it means to be a “graced people”? This is the basic thrust of the author, Scott Hoezee, pastor of preaching and administration at Calvin Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While he initially warns the reader of the fact that the Reformed tradition has “misconstrued” the need to live “the grateful life” (p. 7), his decidedly Reformed mindset has left an indelible mark on his attempt to adopt a “new” approach: “Only those who know just how bad sin is can also know how great grace is” (p. 46, emphasis mine).

Hoezee has divided his thoughts into four chapters. First, he traces the biblical data for the doctrine of grace. Second, he explores the “dimension of the gracious life” (or, how to find ways to say “Thank You” for the greatest gift that God can give). Third, he attempts to grapple with the implications of grace in a capitalistic world. In the final chapter he wrestles with the difficult questions surrounding grace and church discipline (or, how can the church handle sin/scandals in ways different from other societal institutions). Interspersed between the chapters are short “meditations on grace” which Hoezee has drawn from OT passages.

The author’s treatment of the biblical understanding of grace (pp. 11–46) is especially noteworthy—readers will find several helpful insights from both the OT and NT passages he explores.

Unfortunately, Hoezee’s second chapter, “Grace and Gratitude,” is basically the standard Reformed position on sanctification, complete with reference to “antinomianism” (p. 53). While the author subscribes to the fact that works have nothing to do with our salvation, “the power of God’s grace is so enormous that it inevitably will result in a distinctive kind of life” (p. 57, emphasis his).

I found his thoughts on “Grace and Capitalism” (chapter 3) confusing: “What effect has the capitalist way of life had on the church, its theology, and most importantly, its view of grace?” (p. 89). Hoezee has

somehow concluded that American capitalism and the “modern preoccupation of the Self” (p. 91) are synonymous, and therefore dangerous, even though he recognizes that the great reformers all put great emphasis on the “lay life.” While stopping short of equating socialism with “gracious living,” he warns that the business “ethos” is affecti...

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