He Shines in All That's Fair: Culture and Common Grace.
Does God's interaction with the unsaved count as grace? This is the question that the doctrine of common grace considers, and it is a traditional favorite topic of Calvinist theologians. Mouw's book on this theme may seem at first glance to be without any audience outside the Dutch Calvinist community. However, using pertinent illustrations from daily life, M. proves again and again that this topic is well worth another look for many who wish theologically to engage our culture.
Originally presented as the 2000 Stob Lectures at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary, the book moves quickly through the topics, the importance of common grace as a resource for theologians today, how God relates to the unelect, the impact of the debate between infralapsarian and supralapsarian positions, and finally the common good and how theories of common grace might profitably be updated. For those new to this territory, M.'s writing is gloriously clear, and the book can serve as a fine primer.
Far more than a primer, however, the work provides a vision of theology's impact in the public sphere. For those who might wonder about the effect of seemingly obscure theological doctrines upon the engagement with the wider culture, M.'s account of the necessity of Christian care for those outside the Christian community, linked expressly to the nature of God and God's purposes, is enormously powerful. My one critique is that I find unconvincing M.'s interior connections between infralapsarianism and common grace; I would argue that common grace doctrines may be pursued by those who have abandoned the speculation inherent in that question. The book offers insight to the wider public, while inspiring more conversant theologians to push these themes further.
R. WARD HOLDER St. Anselm College, Manchester
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|Author:||Holder, R. Ward|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Sep 1, 2002|
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