Brett McNeill's Reviews > The Law Is Not of Faith: Essays on Works and Grace in the Mosaic Covenant

The Law Is Not of Faith by Bryan D. Estelle
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message 1: by Tim (new)

Tim C'mon... we need more than stars. What were the high and low points? Best and worst essays? Give.


Brett McNeill Overall it was a good book and a needed contribution to the discussion. It's strengths and weaknesses are what you would expect from a collaboration. While the writers are agreed on the central thesis, you can't expect a univocal voice in describing that thesis. They each have their unique take on it and way of describing it. This can't avoid the problem of contradiction whether real or apparent. So you have those who stress the law's demand for perfect obedience (e.g., Van Drunen, Gordon) and those who speak of less than perfect obedience (e.g., Estelle). At the end of the day I don't think that what each says is necessarily contradictory of the other, but are never synthesized because they confine themselves to their particular issues and section. A single author would, no doubt, have explained how these statements can be harmonized (viz. in the realm of typology one can speak of something imperfect in perfect terms because of the reality to which the type points; e.g., Gen 6:9; Job 1:1, 8; 2:3). There are other areas that I wish the authors had picked up. For example I think that it was extremely light on discussing the Pactum.

Having said all that, I still think it is a solid volume. Fesko's rooting of the discussion in the historia salutis, while it should be unnecessary, was, at minimum, a helpful correction to would be critiques who critique republication in the realm of the ordo (e.g., NWTS), something it explicitly repudiates. Ferry's taxonomy was helpful (and charitable) for setting the historical field of discusion. Belcher's canonical approach to the psalter was a thing of beauty. Gordon's chapter was compelling as was Baugh's. Horton's was not easy reading (he seems to have forgotten how to frame a conversation and how to use transition statements), but once you wade through the awkwardness of the prose, the content was truly helpful.

So all in all, it's a solid 4 stars. The book clearly acknowledges centuries of debate and does not claim to be the only orthodox voice in the discussion as others do. I would love to see more contributions to the discussion on both sides with a similar tone.


message 3: by Tim (new)

Tim Thank you for the EXCELLENT review. This is a volume that I've wanted to work through for a while now. Your review is to my desire as the smells of dinner are to an empty stomach. Thanks!


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