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Irresistible Beauty: Beholding the Triune God in the Face of Jesus Christ (Parkison)

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Christian Focus

What hath beauty to do with systematic theology? In this new monograph, Samuel G. Parkison explores this question by examining the relationship between Christ’s divine beauty and regeneration and faith. Building on recent scholarship in (a) theological retrieval of the Christian tradition, and (b) Protestant developments in theological aesthetics, this project is concerned with soteriology’s aesthetic dimension. While many today may consider beauty a mere matter of preference, glibly assuming that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Parkison pushes fiercely in the opposite direction, dignifying beauty by recognizing its objective value—a feature of aesthetics that has fallen on hard times since the so–called Enlightenment, and the subsequent “uglification of culture” (as Sir Roger Scruton put it).

In this doxologically flavored, dogmatically charged work, Parkison pulls from a variety of disciplines to demonstrate Christ’s beauty, and the relevance of Christ’s beauty on Christian theology. Irresistible Beauty is the work of a synthetic generalist. It is not strictly a work of exegesis, though it will stand firmly on exegetical findings. It is not strictly a work of biblical theology, though it will be biblical–theological. It is not strictly a work of historical theology, though it will engage in theological retrieval of the church’s history. It is not strictly a philosophical work, though, driven by a love for wisdom, it will be irreducibly philosophical. Thus, this is a systematic–theological work in the full sense of the term—informed and shaped by these disciplines and informing and shaping the pursuit of them.

Irresistible Beauty is sure to stimulate readers who enjoy a wide range of topics: the philosophy of beauty, metaphysics, Classical Christian Theism, biblical theology, and a Protestant Reformed conception soteriology are all dealt with in this dense theological work. Parkison also converses with some of the greatest minds of Christian history (e.g., Athanasius, Hilary of Poitiers, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, Basil the Great, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Francis Turretin, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, Herman Bavinck, Hans Urs von Balthasaar), making Irresistible Beauty a stimulating work for many a reader.


Dr. Samuel G. Parkison is Associate Professor of Theological Studies at Gulf Theological Seminary in the United Arab Emirates. He is the author of ‘Revelation and Response: The Why and How of Leading Corporate Worship Through Song’, and ‘Thinking Christianly: Bringing Sundry Thoughts Captive to Christ’.


Parkison’s work is a delight because of all the different subjects he broaches. Everything from philosophy, to history of interpretation, to exegesis is dealt with here. You will learn more than you planned on when you read this book.  Patrick Schreiner, Associate Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Missouri -

This fascinating study considers biblical soteriology as the believer being drawn into union with Christ through faith as beholding irresistible beauty. This is dogmatics in the service of the church at its finest. -Craig Carter, Professor of Theology, Tyndale University, Toronto, Ontario

… compels faith–filled worship of the living God as delight in and desire for true Beauty, manifest climactically in Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and eternal reign. This systematic study in theological aesthetics properly shows that true theology is doxology. I highly recommend it. -Jason S. DeRouchie, Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Theology, Bethlehem College and Seminary, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Only when the Spirit gives us eyes to behold the beauty of our triune God can we then truly know what is beautiful as we behold the glory of God’s beatitude. Readers who want to plumb the nature of true beauty will do well to weigh carefully Dr. Parkison’s arguments. -J. V. Fesko, Harriet Barbour Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi

… offers a thoroughgoing dogmatic treatment  of the Protestant Reformed understanding of regeneration and faith. Doxology, not simply dogmatics, is the reader’s reward. -Jonathan King, International Pastoral Training Director, Family Discipleship Ministries

… a compelling biblical case for retrieving the glorious beauty of the truth and goodness of the good news of Jesus Christ. ‘Irresistible Beauty’ is an important argument for appreciating the aesthetic dimension of saving faith. -Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois