Review: John Bunyan and the Grace of Fearing God

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Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley have provided an insightful look into an important aspect of Puritan piety in John Bunyan and the Grace of Fearing God. The authors could not have picked a better area to address than this especially in light of the landscape of the Church in America.

In the first two chapters of this book the authors provide biographical information on Bunyan making clear his historic context and his spiritual influences. With Bunyan situated in his historic context the authors begin to address his understanding of the greatness of God’s glory as being foundation for having a right fear of God. They show how Bunyan in this thought is clearly inline with the Puritan tradition but more importantly inline with divine revelation. They make it clear in the chapters how essential a proper fear of God is to conversion, sanctification, reverencing the Word, and the believers’ final perseverance.

This book is a great piece of historical theology addressing an important aspect of Christian piety. The authors do a wonderful job of evaluating Bunyan’s thought in light of his Puritan background as well as weighing his thought against what Scripture teaches. What Bunyan emphasized in his work regarding the fear of God is necessary correction for the light and flippant attitude found in so much of contemporary evangelicalism.

Disclosure: I received an egalley of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.


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