As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, it is fitting to revisit the five major rally cries of the Reformers. This is the second in a new series and you can read my review of the first one, Faith Alone, here.
Glory to God alone – Soli Deo Gloria - reminds us that God is the supreme end of all things.
VanDrunen begins the book by showing how this sola is the result of the others. There is nothing we can do to supplement the work of God and Christ. He then samples contemporary writers on the subject and Reformed writers between the Reformation and the twenty-first century.
Then he does something that surprised me. The glory of God is first about Himself, VanDrunen says. Humans and their actions should not be the principal focus of the book, so he writes about God and His glorification of Himself. He explores the larger story of Scripture. “God glorifies himself in his created order generally and in his special acts of judgment and salvation in the world.” He reviews God's special deeds in history, such as the cloud, the tabernacle, the temple, and the Incarnation. He hopes this emphasis on God's glorification will be the focus of future teaching on the subject.
In the second half of the book, VanDrunen looks at how Christians are to glorify God in all they do, by faith, by worship, and by works of service. He explores what it means to glorify God in this era, paying particular attention to modern technology, narcissism, and the nature of this passing age. He argues for focused attention, a deeper understanding, self denial, and other virtues.
VanDrunen emphasized an aspect of God's glory that I hadn't really considered before. God glorifies Himself and one way He does that is by glorifying us. That allows us to then glorify Him through faith, worship, and service. It amazes me that God chose to glorify Himself through humans, first His Son and then through His chosen people.
I recommend this book to those who are unsure of the concept that glory belongs to God alone. You will learn how God has displayed His glory and how we are to give God glory. It is an informative book and one that encourages a God-glorifying life. A selected bibliography is included, as are Scripture and subject indexes.
Food for thought:
“We can glorify God in many ways, but Scripture indicates that nothing we do delights God more than calling upon his name with sincere hearts and declaring that all glory belongs to him.”
My rating: 4/5 stars.
David VanDrunen (JD, Northwestern University School of Law, PhD, Loyola University Chicago) is Robert B. Strimple Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics at Westminster Seminary California.
Zondervan Academic, 192 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.