The problem of antinomianism is a hardy perennial for the church. There is a mischievous movement afoot at the moment whose soaring rhetoric about grace is matched by an equally casual presumption on the same. Mark Jones book is thus to be welcomed: it is biblically grounded, historically sensitive and above all timely. In addition, through his careful attention to the role of Christ in scripture and in historical Reformed confessional treatments of sanctification, Jones provides a significant supplement to other recent books pleading for a biblical emphasis on personal piety.
Law and Gospel issues continue to be center-stage in our time, as they have in the past. The much cited adage, he who can distinguish law and gospel is a theologian has never been more appropriate than now, and on this count Mark Jones is a very fine theologian indeed. A carefully nuanced analysis of the Scylla of antinomianism and Charybdis of legalism from a masterful guide. Essential reading.
Mark Joness book is highly important. He makes clear that being Reformed is much more than just being Contra-Remonstrant. Thanks to his vast knowledge of historical theology, he ably shows the well-defined Reformed response against antinomianism, and the relevance of the theme for today.
We are living in a deeply encouraging day when the sovereignty of Gods grace is being rediscovered far and wide. But, as has happened in the past, when such times of biblical ressourcement have occurred, the error of Antinomianism has made its appearance. This new work by Mark Jones is thus a timely tract for the times. It is rich in scriptural argument, illustrations from church history, and vigorous application. May it have a wide reading and even wider heeding!
Mark Jones book offers a balanced treatment of the errors of antinomianism, not only as it surfaced among some seventeenth-century British and New England theologians, but also as it has resurfaced among some contemporary theologians. The strength of Jones case lies in his nuanced definition of the error of antinomianism. Though in the popular imagination antinomianism is often simply identified with a denial of the positive role of Gods moral law in the Christian life, Jones demonstrates that it includes a number of additional elementsâ·a belittling of Christs example of holiness as a pattern for the Christian life (imitatio Christi); a diminishment of the law of God as a true means of sanctification; an unbalanced conception of the relationship between law and gospel; a reluctance to acknowledge the biblical emphasis upon rewards as a legitimate motive for Christian obedience; and a failure to recognize the role of good works as a secondary ground for the believers assurance of salvation. However, the principal strength of Jones argument against antinomianism resides in his emphasis upon the fullness of Christs peron and saving work. Jones shows how a proper understanding of the work of Christ includes both the gospel benefits of free justification and progressive sanctification. In doing so, Jones nicely exposes one of the ironies of antinomianismâ·in the name of preserving the gospel, antinomianism typically truncates it.
What does a seventeenth century theological controversy have to do with Christian living in the twenty-first century? Everything. With the acumen of an historian and the heart of a pastor, Mark Jones deftly guides readers through one of the most tangled and most important set of issues facing the Reformed church. If you want to preach the gospel with greater biblical clarity, or learn how better to apply the gospel to your daily life, pick up this book and begin reading.
Church history records that the doctrinal pendulum often swings from one dangerous extreme to the other. This present day is no exception. The legalistic abuses of recent decades are now being replaced with a hyper-grace license to sin. Sad to say, portions of the Reformed community have given shelter to this new Antinomianism, claiming that personal obedience to the Law of Christ is merely optional. Often trendy with the young, restless, and Reformed, this toxic message is poisonous to the soul. In this excellent work, Mark Jones exercises considerable skill in exposing the fatal flaws of this anti-law, cheap-grace easy-believism. Throughout these pages, you will find the theological clarity needed to reject the twisted errors of legalism and license and embrace a true, grace-inspired, Spirit-empowered obedience to the Scripture.