Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
RAR 3:1 (Winter 1994) p. 135
Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, Michael Scott Horton. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson (1991). 263 pages, paper, $9.99.
Many who have only recently come to know of Michael Horton (he edited recent bestsellers The Agony of Deceit and Power Religion) may be unaware of this volume in which he ably defines and defends the foundations of his theology. Subtitled, An Introduction to Reformed Theology, this very readable book sets the table for those who wish to sample Reformed thought. Informed readers will recognize the fabric of “the five points” woven skillfully throughout the chapters. Yet this book is not principally about the five points, but rather about the foundational issues of grace. In short, Horton has done Reformed theology a great service in preparing a volume which leads the reader past the labels and straight to the truth itself.
Unlike many books which attempt to describe the issues of grace from the Reformed perspective, this one does not retreat to the friendly confines of the sixteenth century. Rather, using contemporary language and illustrations, Horton takes the biblical truths of grace (most of which were rediscovered in the sixteenth century!) and presents them as understandable, and indeed, essential for citizens of the twentieth century. However, throughout his task of contemporizing the message, he never resorts to minimizing the truth. This is not to say that this book does not put the reader through his paces. As J. I. Packer says in his forward:
This book is a breathtaking workout for Protestant lay people, with a prospect of new health and strength for those who stay the course. Tough, genial, and encouraging (as
RAR 3:1 (Winter 1994) p. 136
good trainers learn to be), Horton makes us pump intellectual iron as he puts us through the painful yet healthful discipline of relearning the Reformation’s vital message of saving grace.
Horton begins his theological training with a brief historical introduction to the Reformation in which he presents the several “sola’s” on which the Reformers built their theological houses. He then gives the reader an autobiographical peek at his personal theological journey during which he wandered, as a young man, into the dead end of what he refers to as the “evangelical ghetto” in which “the same cliches, slogans, and experiences which had provided a sense of being ‘in’... began to appear shallow and trite.” From this ghetto he escaped, by means of Paul’s letter to the Romans, to find freedom in God’s liberating grace. As he explains “God does it all and we contribute nothing but our sinfulness.” From this point, the book’s one purpose is to expose the read...
Click here to subscribe