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Publication Date: 15 Mar 2018
Series: Studies in Christian Doctrine and Scripture
Publisher: Apollos
Page Count: 216
Author: Christopher R J Holmes
ISBN-13: 9781783596560, 9781783596577

The Lord Is Good

Seeking The God Of The Psalter
By Christopher R J Holmes
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Summary
Studies in Christian Doctrine and Scripture

‘Taste and see that the Lord is good,’ the Psalmist writes (Psalm 34:8). And to those who called him good, Jesus said, ‘No one is good – except God alone’ (Mark 10:18).

Christopher Holmes explores the divine attribute of goodness by offering a theological interpretation of the Psalter and engaging with the church’s rich theological tradition, especially with the thought of Augustine and Aquinas. He contends that in the very depths of God’s being, God is goodness itself, and goodness is preeminent in God’s nature. Thus, he argues, God not only does good, as seen in the person and work of Jesus Christ, but also is good. Hence, the good that God does – and that God calls us to do – is anchored in the fullness of the good that God is.

Leading us on this journey through the Psalms and the church’s tradition, Holmes helps us to understand what it means to make this simple affirmation: the Lord is good.

‘Intellectually robust and theologically astute, this is a book that is also spiritually enriching and devotionally stimulating. Careful study of it will lead its readers to see hidden depths in the book of Psalms and, even more significantly, to encounter the God who is good.’ Derek Tidball, former Principal, London School of Theology

‘Crammed with suggestive ideas, well-resourced from the great tradition, and deeply edifying in tone and intent, this book reinstalls divine goodness at the centre of theological concerns.’ Fred Sanders, Professor of Theology, Biola University

‘Readers who desire an able guide through the terrain of classic Christian metaphysics, Barthian misgivings about this tradition, and theological interpretation will welcome this volume.’ Mark S. Gignilliat, Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

‘Testifying to the goodness of God, this book places Holmes among the handful of living theologians whose books should be read by anyone doing Christian theology today.’ Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
About the Author
Christopher R. J. Holmes is Associate Professor in Systematic Theology at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and an Anglican priest. He is the author of The Holy Spirit, Ethics in the Presence of Christand Revisiting the Doctrine of the Divine Attributes.
Press Reviews

Many have sought to identify the essential message of the Psalms. Christopher Holmes ably defends his contention that it's the deceptively simple claim that 'the Lord is good.' It's deceptively simple because once he begins to expound its meaning, he leads us to a deep understanding of the nature of God in his being, actions, character, commands, and as Trinity. Furthermore, it leads to a profound consideration of God's relation to his creation and to us as fallen human creatures. Like an intrepid explorer, Holmes probes the terrain in conversation with the theological greats, from Augustine to Barth and beyond, but especially in conversation with Thomas Aquinas. Intellectually robust and theologically astute, this is a book that is also spiritually enriching and devotionally stimulating. Careful study of it will lead its readers to see hidden depths in the book of Psalms and, even more significantly, to encounter the God who is good.

- Derek Tidball, former Principal of the London School of Theology

God is good, but how much more can we really say once we've said that? Holmes manages to say quite a lot more about it in this unique study, an extended conceptual gloss on the psalms with help from Augustine, Aquinas, Barth, and Sonderegger, among others. Crammed with suggestive ideas, well-resourced from the great tradition, and deeply edifying in tone and intent, this book reinstalls divine goodness at the center of theological concerns.

- Fred Sanders, Professor of Theology, Biola University

Christopher Holmes has already published a number of excellent books, and this one is the best yet. With a contemplative depth that mirrors the depth of his sources, he engages the psalms as a guide for constructively retrieving the Christian tradition's witness to God's goodness. Testifying to the goodness of God, this book places Holmes among the handful of living theologians whose books should be read by anyone doing Christian theology today.

- Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary

Hard to put this down. Elegant and clear in expression, charitable in exchange, at points poetic, and always with direct application to lived Christian life. Christopher Holmes writes in a genre of deep and generous learning coupled with keen spiritual insight. A wise look at a theme absolutely central to who God is and how he is toward us. The Psalter is an especially well-chosen area to take us on his journey of discovery.

- Christopher Seitz, Senior Professor of Biblical Interpretation, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto

Biblical exegesis and speculative theology need each other. Christopher Holmes demonstrates as much in this gem of theological engagement with the Psalms. Joining the chorus of Neo-Thomist enthusiasts, Holmes offers a compelling and hopeful account of God's goodness—an account whose aim is to draw the Christian toward prayer and praise. The distinction between essential and relational attributes provides a set of theological and critical tools for coming to terms with Scripture's plain sense. Readers who desire an able guide through the terrain of classic Christian metaphysics, Barthian misgivings about this tradition, and theological interpretation will welcome this volume

- Mark S. Gignilliat, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

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