Books

Spirit and Life: The Practice of Living by the Spirit (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2016)

Extract: For the authentic Christian, the perennial concerns of the moral-self and its engagement in everyday life remain one of life’s greatest challenges. In facing this daunting challenge, the believer is confronted with the inevitable question: ‘How it is possible to overcome the selfish human desires that thwart even the best moral intentions?’ For many Protestants the answer appears simple: keep God’s laws, study the Bible, and adopt a methodical system of religious disciplines; and, at face value, these virtues give some relief. But, in practice, the beleaguered Christian all too readily finds that he/she is still unable to break the vicious cycle of sin and guilt within this ‘system’ of human striving. Consequently, many well-meaning believers, seeing no genuine solution on the horizon, simply resign themselves to a life of moral struggle. However, in stark contrast, the Apostle Paul offers an answer to this problem that is surprisingly simple and relatively straightforward: Live by the Spirit! (Gal 5:16). In fact, it seems so simple that few contemporary Christians actually take it seriously. If, however, we are willing to accept that God was (and is) revealing His wisdom through then apostle’s writings, then surely it behoves us to discover what Paul actually meant by it?

Endorsement: ‘Writing as a committed Reformed Evangelical theologian, Roland Lowther promotes the supremacy of the Spirit in understanding and practising the Christian life. He argues that the Bible forms believers in the Spirit, though the Spirit is not subordinate to the Letter of Scripture. Conservative Protestants should heed Lowther’s call toward a Spirit-guided life, even as those in other Christian traditions can better appreciate how his pneumatic hermeneutics enables Christ-like faithfulness amidst the vagaries of ecclesial praxis in an ambiguous world. ‘~ Amos Yong, Professor of Theology& Mission, Fuller Theological Seminary.

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Spirit and Gospel: The Power of God for Salvation (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2017)

Extract: The Gospel proved so manifestly powerful that the Apostle Paul defined it as ‘the power of God for salvation’. It was a message rich in truth, deeply challenging, and powerfully transformative. It exposed human unrighteousness in light of God’s holiness. It granted the acquittal of sin’s penalty through Christ’s atoning sacrifice. It enabled deliverance from the power of sin through identification with Christ. It empowered life-transformation anticipating the consummation of God’s eternal kingdom. Oriented around the supreme truth of divine righteousness, this message endowed forgiven sinners with the confidence to stand in the righteousness of Christ, to live out this righteousness like Christ, and embrace a new life in expectation of eternal  righteousness with Christ.  Yet, the Gospel promoted by many present day representations of ‘first world’ Christianity lacks the potency of Paul’s original Gospel. In the place of a message animated by divine power, stands a form of religious proclamation that evinces little more than a notional commitment to Christ, conditional devotion to holiness, casual affiliation with Christian community, and provisional involvement in God’s mission. It seems the divine energy that once animated the courage, conviction, and devotion emanating from Paul’s salvation message has largely dissipated. So where has the power gone?

Endorsement: ‘Roland Lowther’s Spirit and Gospel provides a helpful extension of a Reformed reading of Romans. This book’s call to focus on the significance of the Holy Spirit, in Paul’s explanation of the gospel, constructively challenges past theological descriptions and invigorates believers to fulfill the living sacrifice for which Paul’s letter calls’Mark Reasoner, Associate Professor of Theology, Marion University, Indianapolis.

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Spirit and Truth: Understanding Beyond Reason ( Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2020 forthcoming)

Extract: Many fail to see that God’s presence is right before them and that his handiwork constantly testifies to the truth, offering signposts that lead directly to him. Finding the truth and coming to terms with ultimate reality, then, is not about finding the ‘secret laws’ of the universe through theoretical inquiry; rather it’s about finding the One who powerfully created them. More than this, it’s about finding and living out an obedient relational intimacy with the Creator, and this through an intimate dependency on the person to whom Pontius Pilate first posited his fateful question – Jesus Christ. Truth is a person. Finding truth involves moving beyond the quest for rational certainty based on logical propositions, into the realm of relational intimacy and complete moral conformity with God – the source and essence of truth. But to find this truth, fallible humans need help; they need the powerful intervention of God to remove the ‘scales’ of ignorance from their eyes – they need what Jesus calls ‘the Spirit of truth’ (John 14:17).

Endorsement: ‘Opening with the observation that “Reason has ruled the quest for truth from antiquity,” Roland Lowther attempts to answer Pilate’s ever-perplexing question, “What is truth?” Concluding that reason alone is never enough, Lowther embarks on a fascinating journey that explores many potential pathways (such as rationalism, pragmatism and personal experience), while convincingly arguing that without God’s Spirit, all quests for truth will ultimately fail, and that there must be a close relationship between the Spirit, truth and our practical obedience. This is an important and thoughtful book which will richly repay its readers by its careful, insightful and relevant observations.’  Brian Harris, Principal, Vose Seminary, Perth, Australia

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