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Putting Amazing Back into Grace: Embracing the Heart of the Gospel
~J. I. Packer , Michael Horton
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Sales rank: 51005

Product Information

Media: Paperback
ISBN/ASIN : 0801064007
Manufacturer : Baker Books
Release data : 01 May, 2002

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    1 star1 star1 starNo starNo star    Putting Amazing Back into Predestination

    God is sovereign. Sin is an act, thought, or behavior against the will of God. God demands righteousness. God exacts harsh punishment to man for his rebellion against God's will. God has provided a means for some to avoid eternal punishment. Putting Amazing Back into Grace is a defense of the doctrine of predestination that many know as Calvinism. Horton's arguments do not include quotes from Calvin. This work uses biblical explanations and arguments about man's sinful predicament, his unwillingness to accept God's sovereignty and provision for forgiveness. Only through the Holy Spirit can repent for going against the will of God, seek to learn God's will, believe the word of God and have faith. Each chapter has discussion questions at the end.

    Also included are two appendixes. The first one provides bible references to doctrines: Man's choice for disobedience, man left alone will not receive God's word, the initiative rest with God not man, Who God chooses does not rest on the comparative character of each particular man, The atonement of the cross will not go unanswered, and salvation is sealed by God not based on man's obedience or goodness.

    The second appendix are the arguments of Christian scholars concurrent and post biblical writings. He quotes from Clement, Barnabas Ignatius, Justin Martyr, William Tydale, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Bucer, Knox, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Hieronymus{Jerome},Irenaeus,Tertullian, and Charles Spurgeon.

    The author then uses quotes from the creeds; Council of Orange, Council of Valence(855),The Ten Conclusion of Berne (1528), Ausburg Confession of the Luthern Church, Westminster Confession (1646), Confession Dosithus Helvinic Consensus formula, The London confession,Abstract Priciples (1859) and the New Hampshire Confession of Baptists in America.

    1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star    Don't Miss This One

    Putting Amazing Back Into Grace is the first book I have read by Michael Horton. It will certainly not be my last. On the cover of the book J.I. Packer declares the book "a breaktaking workout" and his praise is justified. This book points us back to the Reformation and ultimately to the Bible itself as the source of an amazing grace that much of modern Christianity seems to have lost. He presents timeless truths as being as relevant to us today as they were when they were first discovered.

    Horton redraws the standard TULIP acronym using modern terms. Total Depravity becomes Rebels Without A Cause, Unconditional Election becomes Grace Before Time, Limited Atonement becomes Mission Accomplished, Irresistible Grace becomes Intoxicating Grace and Perseverance of The Saints becomes No Lost Causes. While the terms may have changed, the truth behind each is defended and, perhaps best of all, made relevant to life. More than a theological treatise, this book contains an element of intense practicality where Horton shows how these doctrines are relevant to everyday life.

    Among the other topics Horton covers are dispensationalism which he bravely attacks and the sacraments which he describes as being two keys to spiritual growth. I found the chapter of sacraments the weakest part of the book. While he has given me some food for thought, I do have to take issue with some of his statements. He takes a firm stance for paedo-baptism as well as a sacramental view of the "ordinances", so be prepared for that. His comments about evangelical churches adding extra sacraments (ie recommitment) are well-taken.

    Perhaps my greatest praise is that this book challenges so many assumptions and so many of the words and phrases Christians use all the time. Horton traces the evolution of many of these phrases and shows how they are unbiblical at best, and heretical at worst. Some examples of this are "let go and let God" and "the Spirit's leading." Common phrases, but ones we use without really examining their underlying theological implications.

    I do not use the term life-changing easily, but I do not believe it would be unfair to say that this book can change a life. It is a stunning portrayal of the doctrines of grace and one I know I will return to often. I give it my wholehearted recommendation for all believers. If you do not know the doctrines of grace, read this book and discover them for yourself. If you do, read this book to rediscover their greatness. This book will leave you in awe before the greatness of our God.

    1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star    Gospel Antidote to Cultural Inanity

    What St. Horton Really Said

    Yes, I am basing my title off an N T Wright book (I borrowed the title, I am not critiquing or applauding Wright). I really get annoyed at having to write reviews that are both explanatory of the book and refuting what some anti-Horton apologist wrote. I am speaking particularly of the reader from Portland, OR. I will not spend too much time refuting him, he does a good job of it himself. My aim in this review is to speak of the book, refute the attacking reviewer, and explain how one is to write a review.

    Horton attempts several things in this book: 1) present historic, reformed Christianity in a popular fashion, and 2) offer this new-found protestantism as an antidote to the self-help psychology group. Since many in the debate are familiar with the five points of Calvinism, I will forego them, sufficing to say that Horton gives them new (and better) names, killing the acronym. Instead of Total Depravity--Rebels without a Cause; Unconditional Election--Grace before Time; Limited Atonement--Mission Accomplished; Irresistable Grace--Intoxicating Grace; Perseverance of the Saints--No Lost Causes. Fear not, Calvinists, these are the same doctrines always taught, just renamed.

    Horton does several challenging things with this gospel: 1) after affirming that God is Soveriegn, he then critiques Dispensationalism and charges it with affirming that God has lost control over creation. His second to last chapter is on keys to spiritual growth (think: sacraments). I have to disagree with him on baptism, although it is a well-defended chapter. I disagree with Horton on two points: Baptism and his representation of postmillennialism. I know he is aware of the differences between theonomic postmillennialism and pietistic postmillennialism, he tends to blur the lines a few times

    How Not to write a Review:
    The above mentioned reviewer claimed that Calvinists always used Augustine as their prime spokesman; that is only half-true. Calvinists find Augustine has a powerful ally against the Pelagians; however, his views on the sacraments helped plunge the Middle Age Church into darkness. Kevonic is attributing to Horton what the history has revealed about Augustine. Even if his historical analysis were true (which I doubt), that would be totally irrelevant to the issue at hand. HORTON DID NOT EVEN ONCE QUOTE AUGUSTINE, NOR DID HE NEED TO!!!!!! That leads me to infer that the reviewer DID NOT EVEN READ THE BOOK!. And what is the deal with bringing up Tom Oden. Every one knows that Oden is an Arminian. Furthermore, we all welcome Oden restoring the Church Fathers to our reading lists, and we applaud his heroic attacks on liberalism. Does not Mr Kevonic know that Oden appeared as a special guest in Horton's magazine, MODERN REFORMATION? And contrasting Oden with Packer? They have co-authored at least one book, ONE FAITH, I think it is. I know they have thier theological differences. Furthermore, most Calvinists know the difference between a semi-Pelagian (which is what the Evangelical Church is today) and an Arminian. For a difference, of which Horton is aware being that he was a contributor to the book, see FOUR VIEWS ON ETERNAL SECURITY, which has Calvinist, Arminian, and Semi-Pelagian views. In fact, I will quote Horton from that book, "Stephen Ashby's (an Arminian) contribution represents a much-needed correction of the caricatures of Arminius's views" (Four Views, 188). Does that sound like Horton is unaware of the distinction?

    How to write a Review"
    Briefly explain the review, express, with examples, your areas of disagreement/agreement. Correct caricatures made of the book; recommend other books.

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