Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Self-Donation of God: A Contemporary Lutheran approach to Christ and His Benefits by Jack Kilcrease

Wipf and Stock sent me a review copy of The Self-Donation of God: A Contemporary Lutheran approach to Christ and His Benefits by Dr. Jack Kilcrease. If you are a pastor, seminary student, or educated lay person I highly recommend it. The end result is a Biblical and Systematic Christology that is in harmony with the Book of Concord but the approach is unique. As the title suggests, Dr. Kilcrease views the incarnation as God's Self-Donation. Dr. Kilcrease begins in Genesis and brings us through the rest of Scripture, showing us how God gives Himself to us in His Word and promises and ultimately in the incarnation. He draws insights from a variety of scholars--ancient, modern, liberal, conservative, Calvinist, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, etc. The book is written in an irenic tone and Kilcrease masterfully draws from the positive insights  in the different schools of scholarship while rejecting the negative. N.T. Wright, Scott Hahn, Luther, Chemnitz, Forde, Peter Leithart, Calvin, Barth, Thielicke, and a whole host of others all make appearances. There's a surprising number of lesser known Reformed theologians that work their way into the book. The book has an extensive bibliography and lots of footnotes. Dr. Kilcrease does not waste words and occasionally he left me wanting to read more on a topic and I always found a footnote that made it easy to find an article or book that covered that issue more thoroughly. I found the sections on the communication of the attribrutes extraordinarily helpful as well as the way he dealt with the hiddenness of God. I loved the section in which he explained that Christ became simul justus et peccator for us. I wasn't completely convinced by his argument against the perpetual virginity of Mary or against the harrowing of hell but I can't imagine a book such as this in which everyone is going to agree on every jot and tittle. However, his overall argument is well-supported and documented. I wish there were indexes in the back but this is a minor complaint and is only a problem for those of us who do not have amazing memory of Dr. Jack Kilcrease. It is very rare to come across a book written at the academic level such as this one that is just so full of wonderful Gospel. You can read portions of Dr. Kilcrease's book here.

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