9.5 Theses: Suggested Reading on the Reformation – Ligonier


Reformation Day 2022. Let’s talk books – Reformation history books. Reformation doctrine books. Reformation spiritual growth books. Books for adults, books for children, books for teenagers.

This fine little article by Barry York highlights in a clever way how we can help Reformation churches and her members grow in their knowledge of and commitment to the principles of our Protestant heritage. Here’s how York puts it:

Returning now to the opening question, what might be some guidelines to help a church grow in its knowledge of the Reformation through some of the best books written on it? In the spirit of Luther, here are 9.5 theses to give congregations a suggested plan. This plan focuses on encouraging (1) quality books rather than a quantity of books; (2) a simple yet comprehensive strategy; and (3) a longer-term, deepening approach to help a congregation mature in its knowledge of the Reformation.

I’ve selected three of his categories (“theses”) for you in this post, but by all means read the complete article. And then, gather up some good books on the Reformation! Like this one – for the children!


Thesis 4: Trace the spread of the Reformation through other key figures. Well-written biographies help bring the history and characters of the Reformation alive. By reading these stories, God’s people can see how the fires of the Reformation spread into other countries. Here are just three lives to give a taste of how this happened.

Martin Bucer was on hand for the Heidelberg Disputation in 1518 when Luther defended another set of twenty-eight theses. Bucer was influenced tremendously by Luther. The relatively recent English translation of Martin Greschat’s biography Martin Bucer: A Reformer and His Times captures this Swiss Reformer’s life. Next, John Calvin spent three years in Strasbourg learning from Bucer, and readers will get to know this great Reformer well by reading either the careful treatise John Calvin: A Biography by T.H.L. Parker or Bruce Gordon’s longer and more personal look at his life simply titled Calvin. Finally, John Knox spent time with Calvin in Geneva before returning to Scotland, and Steven Lawson’s John Knox: Fearless Faith is a succinct, approachable summary of his life.

Thesis 5: Don’t forget the little children. Helping families train their children by suggesting or providing books written for their age range, or even reading the stories in church classes, is a great way to encourage the coming generation. Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World by Paul L. Maier is a great picture book for young children. Catherine MacKenzie’s Little Lights series has several titles featuring the Reformers above, such as Martin Luther: What Should I Do?John Calvin: What Is the Truth?, and John Knox: Who Will Save You?, for those just learning to read. Reformation ABCs: The People, Places, and Things of the Reformation―from A to Z by Stephen Nichols provides a helpful alphabet-style overview of the Reformation period.

Thesis 6: Engage the young people as well. For elementary and middle school children, When Lightning Struck! by Danika Cooley tells of Luther’s life. The Trailblazers series offers other inspiring biographies such as John Calvin: After Darkness, Light and John Knox: The Sharpened Sword by Catherine MacKenzie. Robert Godfrey’s Reformation Sketches: Insights into Luther, Calvin, and the Confessions will help high school and college students as it provides some brief biographies as well as a look at some of the Reformed confessions, which helps students know why some of their churches are named Westminster or why they use a catechism called Heidelberg.

Source: 9.5 Theses: Suggested Reading on the Reformation | Tabletalk

Published in: on October 31, 2022 at 9:14 PM  Leave a Comment  

It’s by Design That We’ve Never Lived without the Sabbath | Crossway Articles

Today Crossway published a special article (see link below) based on the new book, The Sabbath as Rest and Hope for the People of God by Guy P. Waters. This is the latest in their series “Short Studies in Biblical Theology.”

The Sabbath as Rest and Hope for the People of God

Here’s an excerpt from the close of the article, where Waters concludes his biblical explanation of God’s creation-ordinance sabbath:

In conclusion, by setting aside the seventh day as a time of resting from his work of creating the world, God institutes the weekly Sabbath as an ongoing ordinance for human beings. The Sabbath commandment does not oblige Israel alone; it binds all human beings by virtue of them being made in the image of God. Thus, humanity did not receive the Sabbath commandment at some point far into the course of human history—God gave the Sabbath to humanity at the beginning of history, at the creation of the world.

So how are human beings to keep the Sabbath? And what does God intend to bring about through their Sabbath keeping? Humans are to imitate God by engaging in labor for six days of the week. But they are no less designed to imitate God by resting the seventh day. This means that God wants people, for twenty-four hours, to cease the work that occupies them six days of the week. Yet, that cessation of labor—and the refreshment that comes from that cessation—is a means to a greater end. God wants human beings to worship him. The Sabbath is a day that God has “made . . . holy”—it is set apart to him and to his worship. And it is precisely because the day is directed toward God that it carries blessing for human beings. It is a day that God has “blessed.” In light of the testimony of Genesis 1:1–2:3, that blessing carries potential for fruitfulness and fullness. Thus, as God meets with people who truly worship him on that day, they experience all of these gifts—spiritual blessing, fruitfulness, and fullness.

It is this latter point that brings us to the heart of the Sabbath. God made human beings to worship him, to have fellowship with him, and to find blessing and happiness in that worship and fellowship. We were created to labor, to be sure, but the ultimate goal of human existence is to worship and glorify the God who made us.

In the light of this truth of God’s Word, shall we commit to spending tomorrow imitating our God in His rest and enjoying blessed fellowship with Him as we worship Him as Creator and Redeemer?

Source: It’s by Design That We’ve Never Lived without the Sabbath | Crossway Articles

Published in: on October 29, 2022 at 9:37 PM  Leave a Comment  

Fall Splendor in West Michigan

The fall season is one of the most special times in West Michigan, and this year the colors have been exceptional. So, for this Friday, while I wait to attend Grandparents’ Day at some of our grandchildren’s Christian school, we’ll post a few photos I have taken this month.

And we will work our way backwards in time. These first two photos were taken yesterday morning at the PRC Seminary (down by the sign) on our first hard frost morning. As the sun arose, the landscape was simply stunning.

Of course, with the weather last Saturday back in the 70s, my dad (age 89!) and brother and I had to get ‘one more’ round of golf in. Ironwood course was loaded with color!

Last Friday night my wife and I drove along the Grand River on M21 through Ada and Lowell – beautiful night on the Flat River (and good food at the Flat River Grille!).

We have been enjoying the new patio in the back of seminary, especially now with the woods behind us ablaze in fall colors. These were taken last week Friday, during our Friday brat cookout.

And two weeks ago I took a ride to Holland to check out some books that were available, and this scene filled my soul with wonder. Port Sheldon going west was one gorgeous setting after another.

Well, that will have to do it for now. I hope you will join me in praising the God who is the best Artist in all the world. No one can paint the heavens and earth as He can.

The full moon that began this month.

Published in: on October 28, 2022 at 7:33 AM  Comments (1)  

From Depths of Woe I Raise to Thee – Martin Luther

A beautiful hymn by the Reformer Martin Luther, based on Psalm 130. Be sure to listen to the video below for a wonderful presentation of this song.

1 From depths of woe I raise to thee
the voice of lamentation;
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me
and hear my supplication:
if thou iniquities dost mark,
our secret sins and misdeeds dark,
O who shall stand before thee?

2 To wash away the crimson stain,
grace, grace alone, availeth;
our works, alas! are all in vain;
in much the best life faileth:
no man can glory in thy sight,
all must alike confess thy might,
and live alone by mercy.

3 Therefore my trust is in the Lord,
and not in mine own merit;
on him my soul shall rest, his Word
upholds my fainting spirit:
his promised mercy is my fort,
my comfort, and my sweet support;
I wait for it with patience.

4 What though I wait the live-long night,
and ’til the dawn appeareth,
my heart still trusteth in his might;
it doubteth not nor feareth:
do thus, O ye of Israel’s seed,
ye of the Spirit born indeed;
and wait ’til God appeareth.

5 Though great our sins and sore our woes,
his grace much more aboundeth;
his helping love no limit knows,
our utmost need it soundeth.
Our Shepherd good and true is he,
who will at last his Israel free
from all their sin and sorrow.

Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #503

Published in: on October 26, 2022 at 5:56 AM  Leave a Comment  

The Sacred Call to Normal Work: How the Reformation Renewed Vocation | Desiring God

book binder-16thc
16th-century book binder

Today Desiring God carried this fine article on the way in which the Reformation of the 16th century changed and influenced the Christian’s view of calling and work. In today’s environment with the world’s disparagement of work and the rise of slothfulness, the Reformation’s biblical principles need to be heard and practiced.

I quote a few paragraphs, encouraging you to read the entire article at the link below.

The evangelicals submitted and taught two practical applications from the principle of the sacredness of all work and vocations. First, all Christians were to “walk in” or “answer to their vocation.”1 “Walking in” one’s vocation encompassed faithfulness to one’s employer and attendant duties in the place of employment. Faithful labor was to be done for the Lord’s sake primarily, but the evangelical ministers also reiterated the principle of working for the love of one’s neighbor. They contended that one’s vocation, whatever it was, served and benefitted the commonwealth both socially and economically.2 Additionally, ministers reminded congregants to be content with their vocation and the work that God provided them.3

The evangelicals made another application of the principle “all space is sacred space” in regards to one’s labor and vocation. They argued that since God was deeply concerned about all vocations, and since all work and vocations were sacred, prayer should be made for all people in their respective vocations. Many Reformation prayer books, like Thomas Becon’s A flour of godly praiers (1550), contained prayers for magistrates, soldiers, mariners, travelers by land, lawyers, merchants, landlords, and mothers.

Within his prayer book, Becon offers a general prayer for all Christians to pray, that they all would “walke accordinge to [their] vocacion in thy feare.”4 In these prayer books, the evangelicals gave special attention to mothers. Mothers were encouraged both through sermons and implicitly through the wording of the prayers that their domestic work was “godly.” These evangelical prayer books implicitly taught English society that all spheres were sacred and were worthy of prayer to God. No vocation was too humble to petition his blessing for the work.

And then there was this principle that developed out of the previous one:

The English evangelicals reasoned that since all vocations and activities were holy in God’s sight, it was incumbent on believers to pursue their vocation with diligence. Industriousness, with it is corresponding virtues — self-discipline, self-governance, and perseverance — constituted an indispensable Christian virtue in the English Reformation ethos. There was no space for idleness in the Christian ethic.

One reason why diligence and idleness were addressed so frequently and zealously in evangelical catechisms and sermons was the context of increasing poverty in urban areas in England, particularly in London. The evangelicals observed that much of that poverty was due to idleness among men.

Diligence stood as a prominent theme in English evangelical print, and it was stressed to all audiences, regardless of age or status. Children were taught the value and benefits of diligence from their parents at a young age through catechesis in the household. The earliest evangelical catechisms and manuals of virtue emphatically encouraged youth to pursue diligence, “takynge payne with all thyne industry,” while also fleeing “slouthe and over much sle[e]pe.”9 In his catechism, William Perkins exhorted children and adults alike to “labour and toyle,” but also reminded Christians that diligence was “nothing and availes not, unlesse God still give his blessing.”10

And so the author applies these principles to the modern Christian in these words:

The English Reformation view of work and vocation can serve as a healthy model for us today. Persistent, disciplined, excellent work for the glory of God is noble and virtuous. There is dignity in any vocation and in performing one’s task, no matter how seemingly mundane or menial, while depending upon God to bless the outcome. God calls us to do all things, including our work, with excellence and joy for his glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). Idleness, laziness, and lack of responsibility are sins to be confessed and repented of.

Moses petitioned God on behalf of the congregation of Israel in Psalm 90:17 to “establish the work of our hands.” This statement humbly acknowledges utter dependence on God for any success in work. Unless he blesses and uses our skills, time management, education, and job opportunities, we will not prosper in them (Psalm 127:1). All is futile without God and his blessing. But when God blesses our labor and vocation, it will not be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). In fact, the work we do for God’s sake will have spiritual and eternal value (Matthew 25:14–30).

As with the evangelicals in Reformation England, we too can cultivate a disposition of doing all things heartily for our Lord (Colossians 3:23), asking him to “make us diligent & happy in the workes of our vocation.”15


Source: The Sacred Call to Normal Work: How the Reformation Renewed Vocation | Desiring God

Published in: on October 22, 2022 at 7:11 AM  Leave a Comment  

2nd Quarter 2022 Book Additions to the PRC Seminary Library – Part 2

Back in June, I completed the second quarter list of significant book acquisitions to the PRC Seminary library for this year (April – June 2022 ), but forgot to post that here, so we have been catching up. I posted the first part of this list last week, and today will finish it with this post. In this listing we will cover the theology and practical theology sections, as well as the miscellaneous section.

Once again it is my hope that this list not merely informs you of the type of books we are adding to the seminary library, but that it also inspires you to do some reading – and perhaps to add to your own personal, family, or church library. Happy browsing!

Dogmatics, Biblical Theology, Historical Theology

  • Assertio Septem Sacramentorum: Or, Defence of the Seven Sacraments by Henry VIII, King of England. VIII Henry, King of England, 1491-1547; Louis O’Donovan; James C. Gibbons. New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1908.
  • Luther’s Liturgical Criteria and His Reform of the Canon of the Mass. Bryan D. Spinks.  Bramcote, Notts: Grove Books, 1982 (Grove Liturgical Study) vol. 30.
  • Calvin in His Letters: A Study of Calvin’s Pastoral Counselling Mainly from His Letters. Jean Daniel Benoit; Richard Haig, Transl. Oxford: Sutton Courtenay Press, 1991 (Courtenay Studies in Reformation Theology), vol. 5
  • Calvin, the Bible, and History: Exegesis and Historical Reflection in the Era of Reform. Barbara Pitkin. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2020.
  • John Calvin and Roman Catholicism: Critique and Engagement, Then and Now. Randall C. Zachman. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, c2008.
  • Calvinus Sacrarum Literarum Interpret: Papers of the International Congress on Calvin Research. H. J. Selderhuis; Peter Opitz; Gary. Hansen. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, c2008 (Reformed Historical Theology), v. 5
  • Divine Accommodation in John Calvin’s Theology: Analysis and Assessment. Arnold Huijgen; Jean Calvin, 1509-1564. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011 (Reformed Historical Theology), vol. 16
  • Calvin’s Political Theology and the Public Engagement of the Church: Christ’s Two Kingdoms. Matthew J. Tuininga. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2017 (Cambridge Studies in Law and Christianity).
  • Lectures on Christian Theology. Enoch Pond, 1791-1882. Boston: Congregational Board of Education, 1867 (N.Pastoor collection).
  • An Answer to John Martiall’s Treatise of the Cross. James Calfhill, 1530?-1570; Richard Gibbings, 1813-1888. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1846. (The Parker Society, v.11)
  • Guidebook for Instruction in the Christian Religion. Herman Bavinck, 1854-1921; Gregory Parker, Transl. and editor; Cameron Clausing, Transl. and editor. 1st English ed. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Academic, 2022.
  • Philosophy of Revelation: Adapted and Expanded from the 1908 Stone Lectures: Presented at Princeton Theological Seminary. Herman Bavinck, 1854-1921; Cory Brock, editor; Nathaniel Gray Sutanto, editor. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2018.
  • Contemplating God with the Great Tradition: Recovering Trinitarian Classical Theism. Craig A. Carter; Carl R. Trueman. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2021.
  • A Covenant Challenge to Our Broken World. Allen O. Miller; Fred H. Klooster; M. Eugene Osterhaven. Atlanta, GA: World Alliance of Reformed Churches, c1982.
  • The Covenant of Grace and the People of God. George M. Ella; Peter L. Meney.  Ponsonby, Cumbria, England: Go Publications, 2020.
  • Christian Hope & the Future. Stephen Travis; I. Howard Marshall. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, c1980 (Issues in Contemporary Theology)
  • A History of Gnosticism. Giovanni Filoramo. Oxford: Blackwell, 1990.
  • Christ Triumphant: Biblical Perspectives on His Church and Kingdom. Raymond O. Zorn. (Rev. ed.) Edinburgh; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, c1997.
  • Justification and Regeneration: Practical Writings on Saving Faith. John Witherspoon, 1723-1794; Kevin DeYoung. Glenside, PA: Westminster Seminary Press, 2022.
  • Justification, Sanctification, and Union with Christ: Fresh Insights from Calvin, Westminster, and Walter Marshall. Sherif A. Fahim; Joel R. Beeke. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2022.
  • The Free Offer and the Call of the Gospel. George M. Ella. Eggleston, Co. Durham, England: Go Publications, 2001.
  • Common Grace and the Call of the Gospel. George M. Ella; Peter L. Meney. Eggleston: Go Publications, 2004.
  • The Gospel Offer Is Free: A Reply to George M. Ella’s “The Free Offer and the Call of the Gospel.” David H. J. Gay. Biggleswade, UK: Brachus, 2004.
  • Face to Face with God: A Biblical Theology of Christ as Priest and Mediator. T. Desmond Alexander; Benjamin J. Gladd. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2021 (Essential Studies in Biblical Theology)
  • The Klaas Schilder Reader: The Essential Theological Writings. Klaas Schilder, 1890-1952; George Harinck; Marinus De Jong. Bellingham, WA : Lexham Academic, 2022.
  • Ascension of Christ: Recovering a Neglected Doctrine. Patrick. Schreiner. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020 (Snapshot series).
  • The Covenant of Redemption: Wherein Is Laid the Foundation of All Our Hopes and Happiness Briefly Opened and Improved. Samuel Willard, 1640-1707; Don Kistler, ed. Orlando, FL: The Northhampton Press, 2022.
  • Treatise on the Law and Gospel. John Colquhoun, 1748-1827; Joel R. Beeke (reprint). Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2022.
  • Christ Is Yours: The Assurance of Salvation in the Puritan Theology of William Gouge. Eric Rivera. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2019 (Studies in Historical and Systematic Theology).

Practical Theology (1) – Christian Living, Family, Marriage, Missions, Prayer

  • Christian Marriage: A Comprehensive Introduction. David Ayers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2019.
  • Living Joyfully in Marriage: Reflecting the Relationship of Christ and the Church. Steven R. Key. Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2022.
  • Gospel-Shaped Marriage: Grace for Sinners to Love Like Saints. Chad B. Van Dixhoorn; Emily Van Dixhoorn; Alistair Begg. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022.
  • Christianity the Final Religion: Addresses on the Missionary Message for the World Today, Showing That the Old Gospel Is the Only Gospel. Samuel Marinus Zwemer, 1867-1952. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans-Sevensma Co., 1920.
  • A World to Win: Preaching World Missions Today. Roger S. Greenway; Juan S. Boonstra; Harvie M. Konn. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1975.
  • Missions by the Book: How Theology and Missions Walk Together. Chad Vegas; Alex Kocman; Carl R. Trueman. Cape Coral, FL: Founders Ministries, 2021.
  • The Lord’s Prayer: Learning from Jesus on What, Why, and How to Pray. Kevin DeYoung. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022 (Foundational Tools for Our Faith)
  • A Theology of the Laity. H.  (Hendrik) Kraemer, 1888-1965. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1958.
  • Growing Downward: The Path of Christ-Exalting Humility. Nick Thompson. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2022.

Practical Theology (2) – Church Government/Leadership, Counseling, Pastoral Ministry, Preaching, Sermons, Worship

  • Coronavirus and the Leadership of the Christian Church: A Sacred Trust Broken. Ernest Springer, III; Joel E. Yeager; Daniel. O’Roark. Willow Street, PA: Old Paths Publications, 2020.
  • Well Ordered, Living Well: A Field Guide to Presbyterian Church Government. Guy Prentiss Waters. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2022.
  • Worship in Spirit and Truth: A Refreshing Study of the Principles and Practice of Biblical Worship. John M. Frame. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, c1996.
  • Reforming Pastoral Ministry: Challenges for Ministry in Postmodern Times. John H. Armstrong; Erwin W. Lutzer; Joel R. Beeke. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, c2001.
  • The Ministry of the Word. William M. Taylor, 1829-1895; Ralph G. Turnbull. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1975 (Notable Books on Preaching)
  • The Doctrine of the Church of England as to the Nature of the Christian Ministry: Tested by the writings of the Reformers and other leading divines from the sixteenth century to the present time. William. White; Thomas Cranmer, 1489-1556; Myles Coverdale, 1488-1568. New York: T. Whittaker, n.d.
  • God’s Word Through Preaching: The Lyman Beecher Lectures Before the Theological Department of Yale College (4th series). John Hall, 1829-1898. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1875.
  • Sermons and Addresses. George Smeaton, 1814-1889; John W. Keddie. Edinburgh; Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth, 2022.
  • The Liturgy of the Reformed Church in America: Together with the Psalter, Selected and arranged for Responsive Reading. Reformed Church in America; Gerrit T. Vander Lugt. New York: The Board of Education, 1968.
  • Preaching the Word with John Chrysostom. Gerald Lewis. Bray; Michael A. G. Haykin.  Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020 (Lived Theology)
  • Pastoral Leadership: For the Care of Souls. Harold L. Senkbeil; Lucas V. Woodford. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2021 (Lexham Ministry Guides)
  • Calls to Worship, Invocations, and Benedictions. Ryan M. Kelly. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2022.

Misc. (Apologetics, Culture, History, Education, Music, Politics, Science, Work, World Religions, etc.)

  • You Are Not Your Own: Belonging to God in an Inhuman World. Alan Noble. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2021.
  • Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution. Carl R. Trueman; Ryan T. Anderson. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022.
  • A Biblical Case Against Theistic Evolution. Wayne A. Grudem, editor; John D. Currid; Guy Prentiss Waters. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022.
  • Basic Writings in Christian Education. Kendig Brubaker Cully, ed.; Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo; Jean Calvin, 1509-1564.  Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960.
  • Science and the Bible: Modern Insights for an Ancient Text. David Instone-Brewer. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020 (Scripture in Context Series)
Published in: on October 20, 2022 at 8:25 AM  Leave a Comment  

“That Day” – The Soon-to-Come Day of Judgment and Salvation

The Senior Bible Fellowship at Faith PRC where I attend is continuing our study of the post-exilic minor prophets, which includes Zechariah at present. Next week we will be looking at chapter 12, where God’s spokesman using the words “in that day” repeatedly.

In his commentary on Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi – The Coming of Zion’s Redeemer – which we are also making use of in our Bible study, Rev. Ron Hanko points to the significance of this expression:

…That phrase is of supreme importance in the prophets and refers to what is elsewhere called “the day of the Lord.”

The day of the Lord is the whole New Testament period viewed from the perspective of the Old Testament. In speaking of the coming of Christ, of judgment and salvation, the Old Testament prophets did not see that the coming of Christ in all its aspects reaches over more than two thousand years of history and includes both his incarnation and his return at the end of the ages. They saw it all as one day, just as someone driving into the mountains does not see them from a distance stretching range after range, with many valleys between, but as one range.

Yet the perspective of the Old Testament prophets was not wrong. Through inspiration it is the perspective of the Holy Spirit, which reminds us that from the viewpoint of God’s purpose the whole New Testament is a very short time, only one day on God'[s clock, in which he finishes all his work.

It is the day of the Lord also because the comings of Christ are really one. He does not really come repeatedly but continuously, so that he is never really absent. He is always coming, as the incarnate one, by his Spirit and word, in every act of judgment, and personally and visibly at the very end, but it is all the one coming of the Lord for judgment and for salvation.

It is in that day, therefore, that all the things prophesied by Zechariah and others have their fulfillment, not in one isolated event but continuously, so that no matter when one lives in the New Testament era, he is able to see these things being fulfilled. Always the word of God is relevant and applicable.

This is suggested in 1 Corinthians 10:11, where Paul says that he ends of the ages had already come upon the Corinthians believers, and insofar as his word is directed to us and every believer, they come upon all of us. The day of the Lord has begun, and every new day is part of the end of the ages and itself another end, for every day is a day of finishing and fulfillment. All culminates in that last hour when Christ appears personally to stop the clock of history and to bring in eternity.

That lends a great deal of urgency to the warnings of scripture, to the call of the gospel, to the demand for repentance, faith, and conversion, for in the New Testament it is always the last day in which only a few hours remain before all must stand in Christ’s presence to be judged (pp.358-59).

That adds weight to the gospel we will hear on the morrow, and to every word of God we read and study. May the truth of the approach of “that day” drive us to hear and heed the message of the gospel.

Published in: on October 15, 2022 at 10:29 PM  Leave a Comment  

2nd Quarter 2022 Book Additions to the PRC Seminary Library

Back in June, I completed the second quarter list of significant book acquisitions to the PRC Seminary library for this year (April – June 2022 ), but forgot to post that here, so we have some catching up to do. You will recall that I make it a habit to share this list with the TSC (Theological School Committee) as well as with the faculty and students so that they can be informed of what is being added to the library.

But I am also convinced these lists are of value to you readers, which is why I post them here. As noted before, part of my reason for posting them is not only to show you the kinds of books the seminary adds to its library, but also to stimulate you to find something to read. Yes, there are books here for the “common” church member, as well as for pastors and other officebearers. Some books are deeper in content than others, but there truly is something for most everyone in these lists. And, with Bible study season starting again, perhaps those opening sections of commentaries will be of use.

So, with that in mind, we give you this second quarter list – the first few sections of it, at least – with the rest to follow in a post to come soon.  Be on the lookout for that book (or those books) that you may wish to read yourself!

Biblical studies/ Commentaries/ Biblical Theology


Communicator’s Commentary (Word)

  • Joshua, John. A. Huffman, 1993

  • Job, David L. McKenna, 1986

EP Study Commentaries (EP Books, England)

  • 1 Kings – J. Davies, 2014.

  • Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi – I. Duguid, 2010

  • 1 & 2 Thessalonians – R. Cara, 2009.

Lectio Continua Expository Commentary on the NT (Reformation Heritage Books)

  • Second Timothy – M. Brown, 2022.

Old Testament for Everyone (John Knox Press)

  • Job for Everyone. John Goldingay, 2013.

Opening Up (Day One Publications)

  • Philippians, R. Ellsworth, 2004.

Osborne NT Commentaries (Lexham Press)

  • Galatians: Verse by Verse. Grant R. Osborne, 2017.

Teach the Bible (Christian Focus, UK)

  • Teaching Ruth and Esther, C. Ash, 2018.

  • Teaching Amos, B. Fyall, 2012.

  • Teaching Romans (2 vols.), C. Ash, 2009

Welwyn Commentaries (Evangelical Press, England)

  • God’s Treasured Possession: Deuteronomy simply explained – A. Stewart, 2013.

  • Triumph of the King: The Message of 2 Samuel – G. Keddie, 2017.

  • A Life Worth Living and a Lord Worth Loving: Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon simply explained – S. Olyott, 2016.

  • Saving a Fallen World: Luke simply explained – M. Bentley, 2017.

  • Alive in Christ: Ephesians simply explained – S. Olyott, 2015.

  • Christ All-Sufficient: Colossians and Philemon simply explained – J.P. Arthur, 2017.

  • Feed My Sheep: A Commentary on 1 & 2 Peter – W. VanDoodewaard, 2017.

  • Knowing Where We Stand: 1, 2, 3 John Simply Explained – P.Barnes, 2017.

 Other Commentaries (Individual)

  • Commentary on the Psalms: Volumes 1-3. Ernst W. Hengstenberg, 1802-1869.  Of Grace Publishing House, 2021 (reprint).
  • A Commentary on Jeremiah: Exile and Homecoming. Walter. Brueggemann. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1998.
  • Revelation. Alun Ebenezer. Darlington (England): EP Books, 2012.

Individual Biblical Studies Titles (Including Doctrine of Scripture)

  • Journey into God’s Word: Your Guide to Understanding and Applying the Bible. J. Scott Duvall; J. Daniel Hays (2nd ed.) Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, c2008, 2020.
  • Reading Scripture Canonically: Theological Instincts for Old Testament Interpretation. Mark S. Gignilliat. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2019.
  • The Marks of Scripture: Rethinking the Nature of the Bible. Daniel Castelo; Robert W. Wall. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2019.
  • The Genesis Genealogies: God’s Administration in the History of Redemption. Abraham Park. North Clarendon, VT: Periplus Editions, c2009.
  • Wrestling with God: Lessons from the Life of Jacob. J. Douglas MacMillan. Bryntirion: Evangelical Press of Wales, 1991.
  • The Poets’ Book of Psalms: The Complete Psalter as Rendered by Twenty-Five Poets from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Centuries. Laurance Wieder. San Francisco, CA: Harper SanFrancisco, 1995.
  • The Minor Prophets. Charles L. Feinberg. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1976 (N. Pastoor collection).
  • Ransomed, Healed, Restored, Forgiven: Learning from the Life of Peter. Michael Bentley. Darlington (England): Evangelical Press, 2001.
  • Apostle of Persuasion: Theology and Rhetoric in the Pauline Letters. James W.  (James Weldon) Thompson. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2020.
  • In the Fullness of Time: An Introduction to the Biblical Theology of Acts and Paul. Richard B. Gaffin; Sinclair B. Ferguson. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022.
  • The Savior’s Farewell: Comfort from the Upper Room. Martyn McGeown. Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2022.
  • The Glory and Fullness of Jesus Christ: In the Most Remarkable Types, Figures, and Allegories of the Old Testament. William McEwen, 1735-1762.; Gordon J. Keddie, ed. (reprint). Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2022.

Church History, General and Biography

  • In Stone and Story: Early Christianity in the Roman World. Bruce W. Longenecker.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2020.
  • Augustine the Evangelist: The Zeal, Hope and Methodology of the Bishop of Hippo. Ryan Denton; Tom Nettles. Water Springs, FL: The Greater Heritage, 2022.
  • Religious Refugees in the Early Modern World: An Alternative History of the Reformation. Nicholas. Terpstra. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
  • The Correspondence of Wolfgang Capito: Volume 1: 1507-1523. Wolfgang Capito, 1478-1541; Milton. Kooistra; Erika Rummel. Toronto, ON; Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, c2005, 2020.
  • Presbyterian Reunion: A Memorial Volume: 1837-1871. Samuel Miller; William B. Sprague; Jonathan F. Stearns. New York: De Witt C. Lent & Co., 1870. (N. Pastoor collection)
  • The Life of John Livingston Nevius: For Forty Years a Missionary in China. Helen Sanford Coan Nevius, 1833-1910. New York, Chicago [etc.]: Fleming H. Revell, 1895 (N. Pastoor collection).
  • Park Street Prophet: A Life of Harold John Ockenga. Harold Lindsell, 1913-1998.  Wheaton, IL: Van Kampen Press, 1951. (N. Pastoor collection)
  • Hugh Latimer. Richard M. Hannula; Michael A. G. Haykin (series ed.) Darlington, England: Evangelical Press, 2013 (Bitesize Biographies)
  • John Newton. John Crotts; Michael A. G. Haykin (series ed.) Darlington, England: Evangelical Press, 2013 (Bitesize Biographies)
  • Never Broken Bond: 60 Years of Frisian Activity in America: The Memoirs of Bernard J. Fridsma, Sr. Bernard J. Fridsma. Grand Rapids, MI: Calvin Copy Center, 1998.
  • Irish Worthies: A Series of Original Biographical Sketches of Eminent Ministers and Members of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Thomas Hamilton; Ian R. K. Paisley. Stoke-on-Trent: Tentmaker Publications, 2000.
  • Jonathan Edwards and the American Experience. Nathan O. Hatch; Harry S. Stout; Henry F. May. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
  • In the Shadow of the Rock: An Autobiography. Geoff Thomas. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2022.
  • Zwingli: God’s Armed Prophet. Bruce Gordon. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2021.
Published in: on October 12, 2022 at 8:55 PM  Comments (1)  

Reformation 2022: Sola Scriptura – Biblical Sufficiency

We are considering the doctrine of Scripture affirmed by the Protestant Reformers, which is encapsulated in the Latin phrase sola Scriptura. According to the Reformation—and biblical—principle of sola Scriptura, Scripture is the only infallible rule of faith for the church. Because the Word of God is the only theopneustos—God-breathed—special revelation that we possess today (2 Tim. 3:16), then no rule of faith can supersede Scripture. There is no higher court to which we can appeal for faith and practice, for there is nowhere else besides Scripture where we can surely find God’s voice today. That God’s Word is inspired does not mean that He dictated it or that He overrode the personalities, gifts, and stylistic choices of the human authors through whom the written Word of God has come to us. It does mean that He worked in and through these authors such that their words are His words.

Sola Scriptura also leads us to the doctrine of biblical sufficiency. To say that Scripture is sufficient is to say that the Bible contains all that we need for determining what we must believe and how we are to live before God. Scripture must be interpreted if we are to understand what we are to believe and how we are to act, but the sufficiency of Scripture indicates that we need no other source of special revelation for faith and life in addition to the Bible.

Passages such as 2 Timothy 3:17 affirm the sufficiency of Scripture. Having affirmed that God’s Word is profitable for “teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (v. 16), Paul explains that Scripture is enough to make us “complete, equipped for every good work.” Scripture in its totality is all that is needed so that we will be completely prepared to serve the Lord. A good work is anything that is pleasing to God, so this text covers everything from determining sound doctrine to knowing the deeds the Lord requires of us as proof of our faith in Him (see James 2:14–26). Being equipped for every good work requires understanding the doctrinal foundations of God-pleasing actions and the actions themselves, as is seen in how the New Testament Epistles typically move from presenting doctrine that must be believed to practical application and moral instruction. John Calvin comments on today’s passage that to be complete means to be “one in whom there is nothing defective.” To avoid being defective with respect to faith and life, we must study Scripture and put its teachings into practice.


We are tempted to look for God’s will in places other than the one place He has revealed it—His Word. As we ponder the will of God for our lives, we must be careful to follow the guidance of Scripture. It is sufficient to give us the principles we need to know to please God wherever we are and whatever we are called to do.

Taken from the devotional book The Heart of the Reformation: A 90-Day Devotional on the Five Solas (Ligonier, 2021). I picked this up last year and am reading it starting this month. It begins, fittingly, with the doctrine of Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone. This particular devotion is title “Biblical Sufficiency.”

Published in: on October 8, 2022 at 9:28 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Church as the Mother of Believers

This name “mother” has been misused, especially by Roman Catholicism which uses the name to buttress its absolute authority. Because the church is our mother, so they think, we must bow to her authority as we would bow to the authority of the Word of God: unreservedly and without question. Such abuse of the name, however, is easily answered with a reminder that no mother is a good mother who does not come with the Scriptures in hand and whose authority is not founded on that Word.

While rejecting the errors of Romanism, thinking of the church as our mother serves as a reminder of some important things about the church. It is a reminder of the unity of the church of Christ in all nations and all history. Believers have only one mother, though the visible church is fragmented and divided. We all—no matter our background, skin colour, nationality, language, etc.—not only have the same Father but also the same mother. Names such as Jerusalem and Zion are names for the church, both in the Old and the New Testaments (Gal. 4:24-27Heb. 12:22-24), and are an example of this wonderful unity which transcends time.

The name mother reminds the church and her leaders that she must be like a mother to her members, and not like a tyrannical and over-bearing monster. It serves as a reminder to the members that the church is the place where they should expect to be fed, nourished, comforted, corrected and guided (Isa. 66:10-11). They should not leave her side, unless she in her visible manifestation becomes a whore rather than a mother. Though the name Mother is not used in Revelation 22:17, the idea of the church as our mother, the one through whom God provides for His children, is certainly to be found there: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

In some churches, all the emphasis is on “saving souls” but what is done for those who are so saved? “Mother” church does little or nothing to nourish and care for her children. Nothing is said about church membership to the evangelized, and those who do become church members are left untaught and unguided. That same misguided emphasis on “saving souls” often leads to the neglect of those who have been long time members of the church, especially the elderly, the widows, the sick and the poor. It leads all too often to neglect of the youth as well. Though under the care of mother church, they remain untaught and it is no surprise that they go their own way in the end.

As our mother, the church deserves our respect and love and obedience. Christians ought to put ourselves under her care, “maintaining the unity of the church; submitting themselves to the doctrine and discipline thereof; bowing their necks under the yoke of Jesus Christ; and as mutual members of the same body, serving to the edification of the brethren, according to the talents God has given them” (Belgic Confession, Article 28).

When our mother is seriously ill, as she sometimes is, we must not immediately abandon her, but must seek her healing and well-being, through prayer, standing for the truth and, if necessary, church reformation. All to often those who would not think of abandoning their natural mother give up on mother church when she is ill and falls short of the standard for spiritual health set by the Word of God. 

Rev. Ron Hanko in the September 2022 “Covenant Reformed News” (“Is the Church Our Mother?”)

Good food for thought as we anticipate the Lord’s Day tomorrow and gathering with our church families for worship, spiritual growth, and fellowship. May our sabbath observance show our love for God as our spiritual Father and for the church as our spiritual mother.

Published in: on October 1, 2022 at 8:42 PM  Leave a Comment