Prepared by Grace, for Grace: The Puritans on God’s Way of Leading Sinners to Christ

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Author(s):  Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley
Publisher:  Reformation Heritage
Price: $2.99       (Mar 14-15)
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Few teachings of the Puritans have provoked such strong reactions and conflicting interpretations as their views on preparing for saving faith. Many twentieth-century scholars dismissed preparation as a prime example of regression from the Reformed doctrine of grace for a man-centered legalism. ‘In Prepared by Grace’, for Grace, Joel Beeke and Paul Smalley make careful analysis of the Puritan understanding of preparatory grace, demonstrate its fundamental continuity with the Reformed tradition, and identify matters where even the Puritans disagreed among themselves. Clearing away the many misconceptions and associated accusations of preparationism, this study is sure to be the standard work on how the Puritans understood the ordinary way God leads sinners to Christ.

Table of Contents:
Introduction: The Question of Preparationism
Preparation and Modern Scholarship
Precedents to Puritan Preparation: Augustine to Calvin
Preparation and Early English Puritans: Perkins, Sibbes, and Preston
Preparation for Conversion: William Ames
Preparation in Early New England (I): Thomas Hooker
Preparation in Early New England (II): Shepard and Pemble
Preparation and the Antinomian Controversy: John Cotton
Preparation at the Pinnacle of Puritanism: Westminster, Burroughs, and Guthrie
Preparation under a Scholastic Lens: Norton
Preparation and Later Puritan Critiques: Goodwin and Firmin
Later Puritan Preparation: Flavel and Bunyan
Jonathan Edwards and Seeking God
Continental Reformed Perspectives: Zwingli to Witsius
The Grace of Preparation for Faith
Appendix: William Ames’s Theological Disputation on Preparation

Joel R. Beeke is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and a pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Paul M. Smalley is a teacher’s assistant for Dr. Beeke.

“I can think of no abler team of writers in the world today to tackle the important issue of preparatory grace, with all of its attendant law-gospel implications, than Joel Beeke and Paul Smalley. As with legalism, preparatory grace suffers from verbal abuse—partly through ignorance of the real issues, and partly through prejudice for its supposed attempt to usurp gospel grace. Beeke and Smalley have provided us with a plethora of historical and theological material to enable us to walk through this controversial but important issue. It has been suggested that to understand the relationship between law and gospel is to be a theologian; on this score, these authors are theologians par excellence.” — Derek W. H. Thomas, professor of systematic and historical theology, RTS Atlanta, and minister for preaching and teaching, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina


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