One of the most enduring debates within protestant theology has been the discussion about how the law of Moses relates to the Christian life. In this important new book, Matthew E. Ferris, a self-described “gentleman theologian,” puts the debate within the contexts of recent writing in New Testament studies as well as in practical theology, and argues that Christian ethics require the law to be “fulfilled” rather than “kept.” This might seem to be a nice distinction, but, Ferris argues, it represents the quite nuanced view of the law developed in the Pauline epistles, which simultaneously seem to value the law while recognizing its lack of power in terms of, for example, sanctification. If One Uses It Lawfully: The Law of Moses and the Christian Life (Wipf & Stock, 2018) offers some new perspectives on a debate that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
Crawford Gribben is a professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast. His research interests focus on the history of puritanism and evangelicalism, and he is the author most recently of John Owen and English Puritanism (Oxford University Press, 2016).
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