14 December 2010

Justification and Regeneration

A recent book that may slip under most of our radars is Charles Leiter's Justification and Regeneration. Leiter is a pastor in Kirksville, Missouri, here. The book was published last year by Granted Ministries (which offers to give their books away on a pay-as-you-can basis). It treats both justification and regeneration from an evangelical and Reformed perspective, though the title is a bit misleading as about 90% of it is about regeneration.

Leiter writes clearly and founds all he says on Scripture. He is not prolix but tidy, and is particularly good at using illustrations. Another strength is the way he self-consciously places both justification and regeneration within the broader soteriological rubric of union with Christ, a salvific framework which I believe is not only richly biblical but also under-recognized. It was good to see Justin Taylor's reminder of the importance of union with Christ a few days ago.

While Leiter does a good job of explaining the radical newness of regeneration--something that we do not hear enough about today--the book suffers from a general over-optimism that fails to truly grapple with ongoing sin in the life of the Christian. Also, the book is overitalicized and over-exclamation-marked! The stupendous subject matter, to be sure, calls for exclamation, so doubtless this critique is in part due to the coldness of my own heart in being annoyed. Another weakness is a few unjustified and unfortunate swipes at the NIV (pp. 91, 93) that, along with the general tone, gives the book a bit of an entrenched, tribalistic feel.

But I'm glad I read the book and would commend it to others for use in the local church.

No comments: