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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