The Path to Perfection

The Path to Perfection; An Examination and Re-statement of John Wesley's Doctrine of Christian Perfection

W. E. Sangster, Epworth Press, London, 1984, 211 pages, £5.50, paper.

Reviewed by Pastor Patrick Boyle, South England Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

This is a reissue of a book originally published in 1943. The author is best known for his classic works on preaching. No dry academic, he is eminently readable.

His book is an examination of John Wesley's teachings on Christian holiness, sanctification, perfection, or perfect love. These terms all mean the same thing--they focus attention on the very relevant issue "Can the Christian live a perfect life in this world?"

In the church there will always be differing responses to this question. There will be much defining and redefining and yet no conclusion that will satisfy every one. Sangster does not really define what John Wesley intended by Christian perfection. Instead he redefines Wesley's teaching to mean the Christian should have perfect love toward God and man.

One of the benefits of reading this book lies in the conviction it brings that holiness is not an option in Christian faith; personal holiness is a nonnegotiable essential for Christian living and is the goal for all who would see God.

In a secular world we need to hear and share the call to a higher, nobler, and holier life.

The book is important not just as theological exercise but for its devotional richness. Though dated, it is rewarding reading and a seedbed for meaningful sermon ideas and a rich source of relevant illustrations.

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Reviewed by Pastor Patrick Boyle, South England Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

August 1988

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