Book review

How to be Holy: First Steps in Becoming a Saint by Peter Kreeft

Peter Kreeft. How to Be Holy: First Steps in Becoming a Saint. San Francisco: Ignatius, 2016.

Peter Kreeft is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and King’s College whose name may be known to older evangelicals as one of the signatories to Evangelicals and Catholics Together (1994). He also describes himself as a former Calvinist.

In How to Be Holy, Kreeft lays out a theology of sanctification intended for members of nearly any theistic religion. As a popular-level book, it tends to avoid such longer terms as ‘sanctification’ in favor of such descriptions as hinted on its cover as ‘being holy’ and ‘becoming a saint.’ As a Protestant approaches the book, one may be inclined to believe that the title refers to justification, but its content is indeed more towards sanctification, and “Becoming a Saint” isn’t referring to Vatican canonization. It’s also important to note that despite the sound of the title, Kreeft is not arguing for the possibility of perfect sanctification in this life. As a theology of sanctification, however, it suffers from its Roman Catholic theological underpinnings and a hermeneutic which fails to account for the immediate context of individual scripture verses.

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Book review

The Great Good Thing: A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ by Andrew Klavan

Andrew Klavan has held my attention ever since I discovered his old video commentary series Klavan on the Culture back around 2010. The format and media have changed a few times before his present cultural-political show The Andrew Klavan Show on The Daily Wire came to be. Outside of politics, Klavan is well-known for his novels, two of which have been made into successful movies. I thoroughly enjoyed Empire of Lies back in the day.

9780718084479I’m a little late to the party concerning his memoir, The Great Good Thing: A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ (2016). Klavan is already proven as a master storyteller, and The Great Good Thing in this respect is no different. His ability to evoke authentic images and experiences in the reader’s mind shines through. If nothing else, it’s a narrative that is difficult to put down through the end. However, if you’re looking for a narrativized systematic theology concerning Reformed soteriology, this is neither that book nor its aim. Moreover, its theological vagueness, intentional or otherwise, could leave one with a false impression of Klavan’s theology and a certain sense of incompleteness. Continue reading