Book Review: From Heaven He Came and Sought Her

I had the privilege of reviewing From Heaven He Came and Sought Her, published by Crossway, recently. The book is a collection of essays by figures such as Carl Trueman, Paul Helm, Robert Letham, Henri Blocher, and others. It is a powerhouse work and I think will stand as the definitive treatment of this important doctrine for this generation. The book was compiled and edited by David Gibson and Jonathan Gibson (no relation). It is a theologically dense, but rich work and even critics of the doctrine will be edified by its careful historical and exegetical work.

The work is divided into three broad sections: Historical Theology, Biblical Theology, and Pastoral Theology. The first traces the origin of this doctrine from the Patristic period, all the way through the post reformation period. The second establishes the doctrine as rooted in and mandated by Scripture. The terminal section seeks to provide concrete guidance for pastoral application of this doctrine.

Now, as a Church Historian, Systematic Theologian, and Biblical Exegete the first two sections were the most applicable to my direct interest. Not serving as a Pastor, I found the final section personally edifying, but not of as much practical use as I would have liked. It would be good for someone to read in order to provide pastoral insight, but is still too technical to serve as a reference for those needing such insight.

Particularly useful was the chapter regarding Medieval representations of this doctrine. The author goes at lengths to establish that this doctrine finds strong representation in the works of Peter Lombard and Thomas Aquinas, making this a formidable entry for those facing Roman Catholic critique. However, I was a bit disappointed in the chapter regarding Patristic theology, as there are stronger statements made by figures of this era than those selected, and some of the statements selected are not overly compelling. Perhaps not as valuable, but very interesting none the less, is the chapter on Moses Amyraut and so-called 4 point Calvinism.

Among the Biblical theology section, I found the most useful chapters to be those exploring the role of this doctrine in the Pentateuch and the Gospel of John. These two chapters should be sufficient to establish that this doctrine is biblically grounded.

I strongly recommend this book to… well… all Christians. It is well worth the cost of the book, and serves as an excellent reference even if one does not read it cover to cover.

Please note: Crossway has provided me with an electronic version of this book for review purposes.