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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Essays

Does Romans allow for the “Carnal Christian”?

TL/DR: The theology concerning the existence of a “carnal Christian” holds that a person can realistically come to true saving faith in Christ and continue to live free of repentance and sanctification for the full remainder of his or her life.  This paper examines Romans 7:14 and 8:1–14 to demonstrate that Romans knows no such concept.  In Romans 7:14, Paul identifies even himself as one who struggles with the flesh.  In Romans 8:1–14, there are only two kinds of people in view: the natural and the spiritual.  It makes no mention of a middle category. Continue reading