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A Book Both Arminians and Calvinists Recommend You Read

Posted By Justin Taylor On August 29, 2013 @ 11:01 am In Uncategorized | Comments Disabled

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Some encouraging words about Fred Sanders’s new book, Wesley on the Christian Life: A Heart Renewed in Love [1]:

“As Fred Sanders shows us in this accurate and edifying life and thought of Wesley, we all have much to learn from this godly evangelical founder. I pray that God will use this book to awaken his people again, filling us with his Spirit and renewing our hearts in love. I plan to use it with my students in both seminaries and churches. It is a great place for Christians to acquaint themselves with one of the most important leaders in all of church history.”
Douglas A. Sweeney, Professor of Church History and the History of Christian Thought, Director of the Jonathan Edwards Center, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“As usual, Fred Sanders brings out treasures of his research without making us do all the digging ourselves. Though respectful of John Wesley, I’ve never been what you’d call a fan. But that’s exactly why a book like this is so worthwhile. Challenging caricatures, Sanders offers a welcoming portrait of Wesley that is too even-handed and well substantiated to be his own fabrication. If the purpose of this series is to display the resources of the past for the present, then Wesley on the Christian Life is a home run.”
Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California; author, Pilgrim Theology

“One of the symptoms of the contemporary malaise of the Methodist movement is a growing disconnect with the actual life and teachings of our beloved founder, John Wesley. Fred Sanders has given us a wonderful gift in this practical introduction to the life and thought of Wesley. Sanders shows us that Wesley’s thought cannot be summarized in terms of doctrinal distinctives, but is fully understood in the sanctifying winds of the Holy Spirit through the means of grace and a transformed heart. I recommend this book to all those ‘restless and Reformed’ brothers and sisters who need to understand this part of the church, as well as all those pastors and laity across the country who are longing for a guide to reintroduce Wesley to ‘the people called Methodist.'”
Timothy C. Tennent, President and Professor of World Christianity, Asbury Theological Seminary

“Whether one is an admirer or a critic, all must concede that the life and thought of John Wesley have had a decisive effect on later evangelical Protestantism. Yet few of us know much about his understanding of the Christian life beyond the rather vague terms often applied to his thought, Arminianism and perfectionism. Thus, even a hard-hearted Calvinist like myself feels a debt of gratitude to Fred Sanders for this delightful, readable, learned, accessible, and sympathetic treatment of the Methodist patriarch’s thinking on what it means to live as a Christian. A most lovely addition to a very fine series.”
Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary

“Readers are in for a treat here. Lively and thoughtful, appreciative but not uncritical, this book shows compellingly why even those who would not call themselves Wesleyan have a great deal to benefit from John Wesley.”
Michael Reeves, Theologian-at-Large, Wales Evangelical School of Theology

Calvinistic Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon was unavailable to write the foreword to Sanders’s book, but in his lecture, “The Two Wesleys” (delivered at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Dec. 6, 1861), he said the following:

To ultra-Calvinists his name is as abhorrent as the name of the Pope to a Protestant: you have only to speak of Wesley, and every imaginable evil is conjured up before their eyes, and no doom is thought to be sufficiently horrible for such an arch-heretic as he was. I verily believe that there are some who would be glad to rake up his bones from the tomb and burn them, as they did the bones of Wycliffe of old—men who go so high in doctrine, and withal add so much bitterness and uncharitableness to it, that they cannot imagine that a man can fear God at all unless he believes precisely as they do.

But he also had little patience for the Wesley fanboys:

Unless you can give him constant adulation, unless you are prepared to affirm that he had no faults, and that he had every virtue, even impossible virtues, you cannot possibly satisfy his admirers.

Spurgeon had a different posture toward Wesley: critical appreciation.

I am afraid that most of us are half asleep, and those that are a little awake have not begun to feel. It will be time for us to find fault with John and Charles Wesley, not when we discover their mistakes, but when we have cured our own. When we shall have more piety than they, more fire, more grace, more burning love, more intense unselfishness, then, and not till then, may we begin to find fault and criticize.

I think he would like Sanders’s book.

For more information and to sample some of the book, go here [2].


Article printed from Justin Taylor: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor

URL to article: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2013/08/29/a-book-both-arminians-and-calvinists-recommend-you-read/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.amazon.com/Wesley-Christian-Life-Renewed-Theologians/dp/1433515644/?tag=thegospcoal-20

[2] here: http://www.crossway.org/books/wesley-on-the-christian-life-tpb/

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