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REVIEW OF JOHN BUNYAN'S THE GRACE OF FEARING GOD

05/26/2017

REVIEW OF JOEL BEEKE & PAUL SMALLEY’S
JOHN BUNYAN AND THE GRACE OF FEARING GOD
(P & R Publishing, 2016; 146 pp.)

Joel Beeke is known to many in the Reformed Christian world for his many books
that he has written, co-written, and edited. He is also seminary president, professor of systematic theology and pastor of a local Reformed church. This volume he has co-written with his teaching assistant and Reformed Baptist pastor Paul Smalley. It is a review of John Bunyan’s THE GRACE OF FEARING GOD.

Fearing God was a common subject in his day, when the giant Redwoods of theologians, the Puritans (J. I. Packer’s label) were making their mark on post-Reformation England. Surely theologian Sinclair Ferguson is right in saying in his
endorsement of the book that “few things are more feared in contemporary Christianity than…the fear of God”. Beeke and Smalley show us how Bunyan
thought and lived and taught his people according to this truth.

Forward by Steven Lawson
Chpt. 1—John Bunyan’s Pilgrimage to Peace
Chpt. 2—Preacher and Prisoner for Christ
Chpt. 3—The Dread and Terrible Majesty
Chpt. 4—Sinful and Preparatory Fears Toward God
Chpt. 5—The Grace of Fear
Chpt. 6—Perfecting Holiness in the Fear of God
Chpt. 7—Trembling at the Word
Chpt. 8—Persevering by the Power of Godly Fear

We live in a day of entertainment and comfort. Fun and games and pleasure and ease mark our weekdays and too many of our Sundays. God is but a palliative or pain relievers for too many professing Christians. I have had church goers tell me that “they don’t do negative”. Others have said “you take God too seriously”. Still others have said: “You take the holiness of God too seriously”. Today’s preachers are expected to make people “feel good” and leave church “happy”. Modern preachers are tempted to become pop psychologists in the pulpit, massaging sinners ego and leaving off the hard truths of Scripture. But preachers who know their God as “holy, holy, holy” and have seen something of his glory and yet by grace have lived to tell about it, will not fear the faces of men. Such was George Whitefield’s answer as to how he could face sometimes howling mobs and still preach Christ. May God be gracious and at least give us pastors and preachers who know and live by the fear of God Almighty!

Steve Martin
31 years a pastor in Atlanta
Coordinator, Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America (ARBCA)
Dean of Students, IRBS Theological Seminary; Texas


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