Piety

The Devil’s Eggs

‘ … the devil succeeds in laying his cuckoo eggs in a pious nest … The sulphurous stench of hell is as nothing compared with the evil odor emitted by divine grace gone putrid’. – Helmut Thielicke, The Waiting Father, 133.

Books on Sanctification

Monergism Books have listed their ‘Top Ten Books on Piety, Sanctification, Spiritual Growth’. Here’s their list:

10. The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification: Growing in Holiness by Living in Union with Christ, by Walter Marshall

09. The Bruised Reed, by Richard Sibbes

08. The Mortification of Sin, by John Owen

07. Crook in the Lot, by Thomas Boston

06. The Fear of God, by John Bunyan

05. Words to Winners of Souls, Horatius Bonar

04. The Doctrine of Sanctification, by A.W. Pink

03. Holiness, by J.C. Ryle

02. The Christian in Complete Armour, by William Gurnall

01. The Life of God in the Soul of Man, by Henry Scougal

Since I am working on sanctification (both personally and for my thesis) I was both interested and a little disappointed in this list. There are, of course, some excellent works on this list, and I remain convinced that the puritans offer us some of (if not) the most rich and practical models and theological resources for the Christian life, but some obvious omissions (they limited their list to ten so omissions are inevitable) come to mind – in no particular order:

Christian Perfection, by P T Forsyth (republished in God the Holy Father; the best treatment I am aware of on sanctification)

Possessed by God, by David Peterson

Hebrews and Perfection, by David Peterson

Faith and Sanctification, by G C Berkouwer

Holiness Past and Present, edited by Stephen Barton

Holiness, by John Webster

The Assurance of Faith, by Randall Zachman

Hearing God’s Words: Exploring Biblical Spirituality, by Peter Adam

Letters and Papers from Prison, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

On Purifying the Heart, by Thomas Goodwin

Commentary on Psalms, by John Calvin

Graded Holiness: A Key to the Priestly Conception of the World, by Philip Jenson

Lectures on Philosophical Theology, by Immanuel Kant

The Grace of Law, by Ernest Kevan

The Struggle of Prayer, by Donald Bloesch

I could go on and I know that I’ve missed a truck-load, but I’m keen to find out what essays you have found helpful in this area, both personally and academically. Suggestions … ?

Forsyth on ‘The Power Of The Resurrection’ – Part 5

But if faith be no more than piety, it is not easy to associate it either with the resurrection or with power. And it is quite easy to work it into sympathy and co–operation with many of the world powers and institutions that delude us with the promise of establishing the Church among men, or doing them good. My point is that what we lack in our faith and pay for in our effect is that element of power which makes faith the continued action in the Church of the greatest exertion of omnipotence ever known–the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. It is a point that will receive little attention. It will be treated as a piece of theology. And a leading minister told us last week that the Churches care nothing for theology. That may be bad, and even vulgar enough, but perhaps it is not the chief trouble; which is when they do not seem to know where theology begins, and are disposed to dismiss as theology the vital centres of saving and experienced faith.