Before The Throne: Review
By Guys With Bibles
We have an awe problem in the church today. Much of Christianity under the “evangelical” label has discarded great and glorious doctrines for t-shirt cannons, glitter in the HVAC, and other such distractions. Many who claim the name of Christ have lost sight of the holy, holy, holy God they claim to believe in.
And then comes a book like Allen Nelson IV’s “Before the Throne” to remind us of the Holiness of God, which is unspeakable, untamable, unchangeable, and uncompromising (among other excellent adjectives).
Nelson points directly to Christ, who made the way for sinners like us to approach the unapproachable God.
Nelson uses Isaiah 6:1-7 and Revelation 4:5-11 as the exegetical backbone for his 12 chapter meditation on God’s holiness. These passages both contain the trisagion- the holy, holy, holy as sung by the seraphim before the throne of God. On this basis he unfolds not only the attribute of God’s holiness and how it affects His other known attributes, but the implications of that holiness on His covenant people.
This is one of the strengths of this book. Nelson not only explains the theology of God’s holiness in layman’s terms, which is a great help, but also makes important and practical application of this theology in the lives of believers. In the course of the book, he touches on the subjects of musical worship, beauty, seraphim, revivalism, dad jokes, and more.
Nelson makes some strong statements in “Before the Throne” that should be heeded by many leaders in evangelicalism.
“The christian faith doesn’t need to change because it’s grounded in an unchanging Father who chose to save us, an unchanging Son who died and rose again, and an unchanging Spirit who gives us new hearts and sanctifies us,” he writes. The triune nature of salvation, and YHWH’s sovereignty over all of it, is crucial to not only understanding God but also in how to do ministry.
Nelson pulls no punches on the sinfulness of mankind. “The problem with seeing God’s glory is not with God, but with mankind’s blinded eyes. Perhaps it’s not so much that fallen man is unable to see the glory of God as much as he is unwilling to see it. Fallen man is unable to see the glory of God because he is unwilling to see it.”
That’s not to say this book is all about correction either. It is plain to see that Nelson wrote each sentence with a pastor’s heart, and with a passion to communicate the uncompromising holiness of God to his brothers and sisters. The book is more formative than corrective. Nelson guides the readers to consider our glorious God, even going the extra mile of adding group discussion questions and suggested readings for further study.
Perhaps most importantly, Nelson takes the opportunity of his second book to clearly proclaim the Gospel to every reader. Everyone needs the Gospel: believers need to be confronted by it, and believers need to be comforted by it. Nelson points directly to Christ, who made the way for sinners like us to approach the unapproachable God.
“Lying between Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4 is the cross of Christ. This is true both historically and theologically. The cross connects Isaiah 6 and revelation 4 because it is both a revelation of our sin (Isaiah 6:5) and the means by which we are able to worship God eternally (Revelation 4:11)...when encountering the holiness of God there is not a “What” to appeal to in order to escape righteous judgment, but a Who.” Christ loves us with a holy love. Glory to God alone.