Few teachings of the Puritans have provoked such strong reactions and conflicting interpretations as their views on preparing for saving faith. Many twentieth-century scholars dismissed preparation as a prime example of regression from the Reformed doctrine of grace for a man-centered legalism. In Prepared by Grace, for Grace, Joel Beeke and Paul Smalley make careful analysis of the Puritan understanding of preparatory grace, demonstrate its fundamental continuity with the Reformed tradition, and identify matters where even the Puritans disagreed among themselves. Clearing away the many misconceptions and associated accusations of preparationism, this study is sure to be the standard work on how the Puritans understood the ordinary way God leads sinners to Christ.
“I can think of no abler team of writers in the world today to tackle the important issue of preparatory grace, with all of its attendant law-gospel implications, than Joel Beeke and Paul Smalley. As with legalism, preparatory grace suffers from verbal abuse—partly through ignorance of the real issues, and partly through prejudice for its supposed attempt to usurp gospel grace. Beeke and Smalley have provided us with a plethora of historical and theological material to enable us to walk through this controversial but important issue. It has been suggested that to understand the relationship between law and gospel is to be a theologian; on this score, these authors are theologians par excellence.” — Derek W. H. Thomas, professor of systematic and historical theology, RTS Atlanta, and minister for preaching and teaching, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina ISBN: 9781601782359