Monday, March 7, 2011

Book Review: Holy, Holy, Holy: Proclaiming the Perfections of God

Holy, Holy, Holy is an anthology with each chapter coming from some well-known names in Reformed theology. As with most any anthology, there are some authors and subjects that are better than others, and I find my biases beginning to firm up as I sampled some names before in Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching.

Chapter 2. “Hallowed Be Your Name”: The Holiness of the Father
After a helpful introductory chapter by R.C. Sproul, the book hits full force with a powerful chapter by Sinclair Ferguson. Having read his book The Holy Spirit, it was no surprise that Ferguson powerfully captures the reader with the marvelous and mysterious unity between the Father and Son.

Chapter 4. “The Breath of the Almighty”: The Holiness of the Spirit
It felt like Alistair Begg attempted to cover too much material in one chapter. I would have enjoyed a more focused treatise than the one provided (of course, I could be biased having read Ferguson’s earlier work). Begg spent too much time on the relationship between the Father and Son and on the identity of the Holy Spirit. His textual link between the Holy Spirit’s role of convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment with the thief on the cross was a hint at what the whole chapter could have been and should have been.

Chapter 6. “A Holy Nation”: The Church’s High Calling
Whenever I read D.A. Carson’s work I get the terrible feeling that I don’t know anything about hermeneutics. Though one of the world’s greatest Greek scholars, he doesn’t have to take you back to the root meaning of an obscure word to show you what the text means, and the result is a superbly written piece that teaches, encourages, and challenges you to take a closer look at a passage before moving on to the next.

Chapter 7. “Wounded for Our Transgressions”: The Holiness of God
This chapter takes a look into the book of Isaiah to draw out some of the passages dealing with Christ’s substitutionary death for us. The author, W. Robert Godfrey, makes an interesting compare and contrast analysis between King Uzziah’s sin, leprosy, and death (Isaiah 6:1) and Jesus. He reads leprosy into the passage more than I am comfortable with, sounding more like eisegesis than exegesis. I would urge others to be careful to take the passage at face value and not seek some hidden meaning (like my friend who thought the book of Philemon was an allegory about receiving Christ as Savior).

Each author adds his own perspective and style. The diversity can keep things from droning on too long, but I was more often left wanting more. A book like this provides a helpful glimpse into the minds of some great thinkers and authors, and I find anthologies much like a compilation music album: just enough to give me an idea of who I want to read more at length later. Specifically, I will keep my eyes open for more from Ferguson, Anyabwile (ch. 5), Carson, and Thomas (ch. 8).

To buy the book, visit (direct link).

If you're interested, but not sure, download a copy of the first chapter here.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Reformation Trust Publishers as part of their book review program.

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