"Just Words: Understanding the Fullness of the Gospel" by Jacob A. O. Preus

Kim Riddlebarger
Wednesday, June 13th 2007
Sep/Oct 2001

Readers of Modern Reformation and listeners of the "White Horse Inn" radio broadcast often lament the lack of good introductory books on Reformation theology that are both readable and practical. This book treating biblical metaphors for various Gospel themes is both.

Just Words sets forth in simple, yet compelling language the significance of a number of biblical metaphors that illuminate the meaning of the Gospel and the work of Christ. Preus, who is president of Concordia University in Irvine, California, then applies these metaphors to various real-life situations to which they speak quite powerfully. He does this with great pastoral wisdom and skill and, thankfully, without the moralism that often accompanies such endeavors.

Metaphors of creation (birth, life, salvation, light, bread, water), of commerce (ransom, redemption, property, forgiveness/remission), of law (justification, intercession, adoption, inheritance), of personal relations (reconciliation, peace, forgiveness, marriage), of sacrifice (expiation/priestly mediation, sacrificial lamb, hallowing cleansing), and of deliverance (salvation, liberation, victory) are each concisely treated in light of their biblical significance and theological relevance. Though the book has a definite Lutheran flavor seen in the choice of certain metaphors and more so in the discussion of the sacraments, there is much here for non-Lutherans as well. Readers familiar with Leon Morris's wonderful book, The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, may have lamented, "if only such a book could be written in less technical language while covering more biblical terms!" Just Words fits this bill.

This is a book to give to a friend or family member struggling with issues such as assurance of salvation or doubt. It is one to give to someone new to Reformation theology. It could also be used profitably for family devotions. But, most importantly, it is a book to give to someone who claims Reformation theology satisfies the mind and not the heart. Preus's skillful treatment of these biblical metaphors to illumine the great truths of the Gospel shows that mind and heart can indeed be on the same page and that Reformation theology does speak to the most fundamental issues of life.

Thanks, Dr. Preus, for a real gem.

Wednesday, June 13th 2007

“Modern Reformation has championed confessional Reformation theology in an anti-confessional and anti-theological age.”

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