FIVE VIEWS ON SANCTIFICATION – Melvin E. Dieter, Ed. (1996)

Five Views on Sanctification, edited by Melvin Dieter is a position book that outlines the views of sanctification including Reformed, Dispensational, Keswick, Wesleyan, and Pentecostal.  Each position is subsequently evaluated by authors of the opposing viewpoint.  Issues include the general meaning of sanctification, baptism of the Spirit, definition of the old man and new man, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the filling of the Spirit.

Each position includes a clear presentation of a given view concerning sanctification.  Anthony Hoekema presents the clearest and most convincing case and is thoroughly exegetical and practical in his approach.

Dr. Walvoord’s position is commendable (although I question calling the Dispensational view, Augustinian).  His work on the baptism and filling of the Spirit is thought-provoking and vivid.  I disagree with his evaluation on the Synod of Dordt.  He seems to think that the Reformed dictum, “regeneration precedes faith” renders one a robot.  And his emphasis on man’s responsibility appears to downplay the sovereignty of God.

The book does a marvelous job showing not only the differences that exist among the five views but the remarkable number of similarities as well.  Each author writes with conviction but also in a spirit of love.

A few weaknesses must be noted.  Because of the many similarities mentioned above, there is a great deal of repetition.  Also, there is a surprising absence of the concept of sanctification by faith alone, except in Hoekema.  The views of Dieter and Horton seem to be based more on historical grounds than biblical exegesis.  The result is an undue emphasis on man’s responsibility and not enough on the sovereignty of God.  Finally, the book should have included resources and a detailed bibliography for further study.

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