Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Book #33

The Pursuit of the Holy, by Simon Ponsonby. Paperback.

Ponsonby recently taught at my church, and I instantly became a fan. His ability to combine the academic and the practical, the high- and low- church, the historical and modern views of the church, all impressed me. I quickly grabbed two of his books, and hope to find a few others.

In this one, Ponsonby takes on what is to me the scariest verse in the Bible: Leviticus 19:2, "be Holy because I am Holy," restated by Jesus in Matthew 5:48, "Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect." The first time I ran across these verses, my blood ran cold.

Ponsonby takes these verses apart, and explains the sanctification process as not achieving perfection on our own, but allowing the Holy Spirit to bring us into the likeness of Jesus. His explaining of the work of the Holy Spirit is both sound and encouraging, infusing grace into all aspects of his discussion of the holiness of God and our lifelong call to strive toward holiness ourselves.

This is an excellent discussion of the topic of the Holy Spirit and sanctification, pulling in current theological insights and touching on a range of historical theologies, as well. He handles these historical aspects well, not letting the work get bogged down, but allowing his text to be informed by past wisdom on the subject.

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