The Gospel of Grace and Truth: A Theology of Grace from the Gospel of John. By Michael D. Halsey. Duluth, MN: Grace Gospel Press, 2015. 339 pp. Paper, $15.95.
Halsey, as the subtitle suggests, is writing a Biblical theology of John’s Gospel. As such what he aims to do is discuss the way in which key issues are treated in John’s Gospel.
He has chapters dealing with “John’s Theology of the Bible” (pp. 65– 83), “John’s Theology of Jesus Christ” (pp. 85–123), “John’s Theology of the Holy Spirit” (pp. 125–163), “John’s Theology of Angels” (pp. 165–77), “John’s Theology of Man” (pp. 177–204), “John’s Theology of Salvation” (pp. 205–249, the longest chapter), “John’s Theology of the Church” (pp. 251–291), and “John’s Theology of Last Things” (pp. 293–319).
No indication is given as to the source of this work.
The strengths of this work are: Halsey’s views are conservative; he presents a view of salvation that is by grace through faith and apart from works; he clearly distinguishes between justification and sanctification; most chapters begin with interesting anecdotes that illustrate a spiritual truth; and there is a Scripture index.
The weaknesses of the work are: Halsey does not discuss the secret believer motif in John’s Gospel; he does not explain or discuss John 2:23–25, 8:30–32 (he touches on 8:30–32 on pp. 234–36, but without discussing the problem of the change of referent in vv 33–59), or 12:42–43; he suggests that the purpose of John 1–12 is evangelistic, but that John 13–21 has a discipleship purpose (pp. 45–46), thus undercutting the evangelistic purpose of the whole book (John 20:30–31), and arbitrarily separating Jesus’ death and resurrection (John 18–21) from the evangelistic portion of the book.
I recommend this book for those who are looking for a Biblical theology of John’s Gospel. As it is not a commentary, those looking for a commentary on John should look elsewhere. However, there is much helpful information here.
Robert N. Wilkin
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society