It is time once more to highlight a few new titles that have come into the PRC Seminary library. I am always amazed at how many good resources are being published and republished – books of great value to the faculty and students here, as well as to our members and visitors. I hope by highlighting a few you will also be able to see the quality of books that enter our library.
Like everyone else, we are on a budget here, so I have to focus on quality, not quantity (although my Thrift store shopping makes that budget go further!). I might add at this point that I am truly grateful for the monies provided the library by the Theological School Committee in its budget (and Synod, which approves that budget each year), as well as for the many gifts we receive throughout the year.
But, on to the books! Here are a few of the significant new books recently purchased and processed:
- The Works of John Knox, Banner of Truth, 2014 – Six Volumes, hardcover (David Laing Ed., first published in 1846). This is part of the publisher’s note on this important republication:
Unfortunately for many years hardback sets of Knox’s Works have been virtually unobtainable by, and inaccessible to, the general public. Now, to mark the 500th anniversary of his birth (probably in 1514) and the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first definitive edition of the Scottish reformer’s Works (1846-64), these rare volumes have been reprinted. The present republication of the reformer’s writings provides a unique and remarkably affordable opportunity for a new generation of students to rediscover and get to know the real John Knox.
- Reformed Dogmatics, Geerhardus Vos, Translated and edited by Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., five volumes (Lexham Press, 2012-14). Logos Bible Software has been adding this work to their digital collection as it is being translated, and now it is also being published in a good hardcover binding, with the first two volumes (theology proper and anthropology) in print. This is a classic work in Reformed theology and it is good to see it made accessible to the public.
- John Calvin as Sixteenth-Century Prophet, Jon Balserak (Oxford University Press, 2014). This is an important new study on Calvin, focusing especially on his “sense of vocation.” Here’s more on the nature of this book from the publisher:
Beginning with an analysis of the two trajectories of thought existing within Christian discourse on prophecy from the patristic to the Early Modern era, this monograph goes on to find Calvin within a non-mystical, non-apocalyptic prophetic tradition that focused on scriptural interpretation. This study, then, demonstrates how Calvin developed a plan to win France for the gospel; a plan which included the possibility of armed conflict. To pursue his designs, he trained “prophets” who were sent into France to labor intensely to undermine the king’s authority on the grounds that he supported idolatry, convince the French Reformed congregations that they were already in a war with him, and prepare them for a possible military uprising. An additional part of this plan saw Calvin search for a French noble willing to support the evangelical religion, even if it meant initiating a coup. Calvin began ruminating over these ideas in the 1550s or possibly earlier. The war which commenced in 1562 represents, this monograph argues, the culmination of years of preparation by Calvin.
- Going Dutch in the Modern Age: Abraham Kuyper’s Struggle for a Free Church in the Nineteenth-Century Netherlands, John Halsey Wood, Jr. (Oxford University Press, 2013). This is another volume in the “Oxford Studies in Historical Theology” series, and adds to the growing collection of titles covering the life, work, and teachings of this great Reformed churchman and statesman. Wood centers his study on Kuyper’s ecclesiology (doctrine of the church), as will be noted from this publisher’s note:
John Wood examines how Abraham Kuyper adapted the Dutch church to its modern social context through a new account of the nature of the church and its social position. The central concern of Kuyper’s ecclesiology was to re-conceive the relationship between the inner aspects of the church—the faith and commitment of the members—and the external forms of the church, such as doctrinal confessions, sacraments, and the relationship of the church to the Dutch people and state. Kuyper’s solution was to make the church less dependent on public entities such as nation and state and more dependent on private support, especially the good will of its members. This ecclesiology de-legitimated the national church and helped Kuyper justify his break with the church, but it had wider effects as well. It precipitated a change in his theology of baptism from a view of the instrumental efficacy of the sacrament to his later doctrine of presumptive regeneration wherein the external sacrament followed, rather than preceded and prepared for, the intenral work grace. This new ecclesiology also gave rise to his well-known public theology; once he achieved the private church he wanted, as the Netherlands’ foremost public figure, he had to figure out how to make Christianity public again.
- Commentaries. One of the key areas of growth in our library is that of Biblical studies and exposition, including commentaries. These are important tools for the faculty and students, since the professors’ teaching and the seminarians’ learning centers on exegesis, the proper interpretation of God’s Word.
- Two significant series of commentaries that we have included in our collection are the “Preaching the Word” series (Crossway, edited by R. Kent Hughes) and the “Reformed Expository Commentary” (P&R Publishing, edited by Richard D. Phillips and Philip G. Ryken).
- Within these sets we have recently added commentaries on the gospel according to John and on Acts, as well as Ecclesiastes and 1 Peter.