Book Review: Michael Horton, Covenant and Salvation: Union with Christ (Westminster John Knox Press, 2007).

Horton, new

The purpose of this book is to explicate an explicitly covenantal account of Reformed soteriology. The first part of the book deals the forensic aspect of salvation, which, in the main, boils down to justification for Horton. The second part deals with the renovative aspect of salvation.

Although this book is written in a relatively engaging manner, it is an advanced, scholarly work. That is to say, there are a variety of concepts and discussions which presuppose at least an intermediate level of understanding, at least in some places. As such, it proves to advance the discussion with regard to Reformed soteriology in numerous places, e.g., the relationship between regeneration and effectual calling; and, the place of theosis in Reformed soteriology.

One of the potential drawbacks of this book is that it is in many places largely polemical, arguing with such interlocutors as the New Perspective, the Finnish School, and Robert Gundry, to name a few. Of course, one would expect such interactions in a scholarly book, but, it can prove to be heavy, cumbersome reading at times, especially if these competing views are not in the purview of the reader. But, it must be stressed on the other hand that some of the issues he addresses in his polemical mode are extremely helpful for navigating the current contexts, especially regarding such issues as a proper reading of Pauline soteriology and the validity of affirming the imputation of Christ’s righteousness.

If one wants an introductory text to Reformed soteriology, this is not the book for you; but, if one wants to engage with a book which seeks to explicate the same in the face of competing contemporary voices, this is a must read. Moreover, although this text is arguably more polemical than constructive, when it is constructive, it, in this reader’s opinion, significantly contributes to and advances Reformed and more broadly evangelical soteriology.


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