"How Does Sanctification Work?", by David Powlison (book review)

I initially looked forward to reviewing this book because I appreciate David Powlison's preaching.  I think he is a gifted communicator of God's word.  However, I have to admit that this very easy and straightforward read left me disappointed.  I expected the book to be a bit more academic and theological, but it was simple...almost too simplistic.

The intent was to explore how sanctification (progressive growth in godliness) happens over the course of a believer's life.  Instead of really digging into theology, however, Powlison, in my opinion, only skimmed the surface in shallow manner.  The book left me with more questions than answers...which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I was looking for more.  Since sanctification happens differently for most Christians, it may very well have been his writing style that did not capture my mind's attention.  I didn't have the feeling that I couldn't put it down, or that I had to keep feeding on its contents. Instead, I didn't have much desire to continue reading it (but for the sake of an honest review, I did).

It appeared Powlison assumed all of his readers would be believers because he discussed sanctification long before explaining the gospel.  Just as salvation precedes sanctification, I think discussing the gospel and its implications prior to addressing sanctification would have been a wiser approach.  A sinner cannot be sanctified apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ, but must be made right with God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and the sacrifice he made on sinners' place.  Only after turning from sin and to God does the process of progressive sanctification begin.  I think reversing the order of these two crucial topics would have been better.

Four of the eleven chapters were "stories": the author's (2 chapters), Charles', and Charlotte's.  I can appreciate the value of adding real-world scenarios to the book, but it didn't do anything for me, really. I wasn't impacted with any "a-ha's" or moments of mental clarity as a result of reading the "stories".  Quite frankly, they seemed like filler space stories for an already very short book. 

RATING: I think this book could have used a bit more work and thought before going to press.  I would have been disappointed if I had paid money for it.  For that, I give it just 2 1/2 stars.

DISCLAIMER: I received this digital version of this book free of charge from Crossway books in exchange for my unbiased review of it.  All opinions are mine.

No comments:

Post a Comment