Some books are for everyone. Some books are not for everyone.
Prepared by Grace, For Grace, by Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley, is a book I would argue is *not* for everyone. That being said, I am not against this book, and I have been challenged through reading it.
What is Prepared by Grace, for Grace? It is an examination of the classical Puritan doctrine of “preparatory grace.” This doctrine is examined as presented in the seventeenth century Puritan writers, and discussed among modern Reformed theology.
It is well done. Prepared by Grace, for Grace runs through a clear analysis of primary source materials as well as the secondary sources. Further, there are answers to many of the critical objections to the doctrinal idea. Finally, in an appendix, the reader is treated to an English translation of one of the primary sources considered. In all, for a theological concept that is not widely discussed (at least in my circles), this was a helpful introduction.
However, I would caution the casual reader away from Prepared by Grace, for Grace. This is no light reading, and those without a working knowledge of Reformation-era Christian History will find themselves a little lost in the flood of detail. Each section provides some of the biography of the theologian involved, but the little pictures do not fully compute without prior understanding of the big picture.
Further, the language is definitely on a more academic level in Prepared by Grace, for Grace. That hits what I think is the target market: serious students of theology, whether formal or informal, but still those with more than a passing fancy for the material.
I have no hesitation about recommending Prepared by Grace, for Grace to those who want to study theology or the Puritans. I would simply caution that this is not a quick read.
Book provided through Cross-Focused Reviews, a third-party source seeking to provide honest reviews for publishers.
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