21 April 2010

Hulme: Gospel Growth

One of the most helpful books in bringing me deeper into the gospel is William Hulme's little book Counseling and Theology. Hulme was a Lutheran prof of practical theology at Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul back in the 50s. The book is a fascinating integration of, on one page, an explanation of the theological relationship between justification and sanctification and, on the next, dialogue from a real-life counseling case study of someone who couldn't overcome dependence on people-approval (see also here).

Here's how he concludes his chapter on 'The Means of Growth.'

The more one is able to love, the more he develops the qualities of integration and adjustment to reality that mark the mature person. . . . If our sanctification is allowed to become confused with our justification, then our motive for pleasing God is no longer one of love and gratitude, but one of earning and deserving. Hence we have the entrance of a self-interest motive into our living which is a deterrent rather than an incentive to growth.

Justification must come first and be completed experience, since the sanctification process is dependent upon the mindset which results from it.

Each time the sinner is drawn to the cross in new repentance, he gains a deeper appreciation of the gift of forgiveness. This ever-increasing gratitude for the righteousness which is imputed unto him becomes the motive in his own righteousness. Because he knows that he is accepted of God by grace, his tension is released and he is free to love. . . . [T]he justification experience must precede that of sanctification to make either of them possible. (pp. 200-201)

1 comment:

Mark said...

Please keep the comments from Hulme coming! The two you've quoted have been powerful and insightful. Thanks.